News / Middle East

Syrian Refugees Seek Out Smugglers

Syrian Refugees Seek Out Smugglersi
X
Margaret Besheer
August 06, 2012
The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon. VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli that many of those refugees have sought out smugglers to spirit them to safety.

The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon

TEXT SIZE - +
Margaret Besheer
TRIPOLI, Lebanon — The United Nations says more than 30,000 Syrians have sought refuge from their country's conflict in neighboring Lebanon. Many of those refugees have sought out smugglers to spirit them to safety.

Umm Shaker used to work at the Syrian Army base in Baba Amr in Homs. She said she saw how the army began to kill people protesting against the government after Friday prayers.

"We used to see the killing in front of us. We saw how they used to shoot randomly on demonstrators after Friday prayers. The army raided houses. If they couldn't steal from the house, they would burn it down or kill its owner," she said.

Desperate undertaking

So Shaker decided she needed to get her four young children out of Homs, moving to another town for several months. But after one of her sons was hit by shrapnel last month, she decided to take the risk of being smuggled into Lebanon.

"The Free Army helped me to flee. We fled through the fields and the Free Army helped to protect the kids," said Shaker.

Shaker said the rebels helped her for free, but others like Abu Skandar pay smugglers what is for them exorbitant sums to move their families across the border. A loose network of activists, rebels and businessmen has been smuggling refugees out of Syria.

"We bribed the officers and I snuck my family through the border. Normally the road from Hama to Tripoli takes two-and-a-half hours, but because of the situation, it took my wife about 12 hours," said Skandar.

Costly smuggling stream

Skandar said he paid about $400 to smuggle his family into Lebanon - the equivalent of nearly two months salary. Now they live in a cramped one-room apartment in a poor section of town.

He said his life before the protests was good, but the Syrian government treated people poorly.

"My financial situation is good, thank God. I have a two-story home, a car, and a shop, and I had a job as a warehouse supervisor, too. But I felt that there was so much injustice from the government, and if you need to do anything you need to have a partner in the government," said Skandar.

As fighting rages in Syria, the United Nations refugee commissioner predicts a "gigantic outflow" of Syrians, which is only likely to increase the smuggling stream.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: oupyxeda from: 1
August 12, 2012 5:06 PM
1


by: Huna Albadawi from: Jordan
August 06, 2012 3:49 PM
hey, Syrians, you seek out smugglers...? move to Gaza...!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid