Syria: Inside a Refugee Camp

Read this content in Email this pageEnvoyer à un ami0CommentairesImprimer

Our journey starts beginning of November in Reyhanli, 40 kilometers away from Antakya (Southeast Turkey). With Hamid*, a Syrian originally from Alep, we stay there for two days, which gives us just enough time to visit the two guest houses that were transformed into hospitals for the combatants of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The city's population has increased twofolds with the arrival of the refugees. In the streets, people speak Arabic and the wounded wander, maimed. 

The next day, we decide to go on the other side of the mountain. It is safer to cross when the sun has set, in order not to be spotted by the Turkish police. We walk for an hour, under the stars, before finding the road. A car is waiting for us there and we embark towards a village located 40 kilometers away from Alep. 

We arrive to a village that has no electricity nor running water. The half-light - the sun sets around 4:30pm - and the calm of the lanes create a very strange atmosphere. But the residents are used to it now. They put candles and kerosene lamps back out. "Back to the Middle-Ages", some say jokingly. 

Shops are open and a few residents use the engine of their cars as electric generators. Every six hours the light goes back on, for an hour only. People can charge their cellphones and switch on their televisions. 

The entire Idleb province is without running water or electricity. Every night, sitting next to the fire, we wait for the planes of the Syrian regime to bomb the surrounding towns. The bombs illuminate the night and break the oppressive silence that surrounds us. The village in which we are was shelled two months ago. The neighboring village had welcomed the residents for a few weeks. The façades of the houses still bear the stigmas of those fights. 

The villagers only dream of one thing: the fall of Bachar al-Assad. It seems that their support to the revolution is unerring. The men of the village who have taken arms all believe, with a sometimes disconcerting optimism, that a better future is possible. 

The end of our journey approaches. To go back to Turkey we take another route, shorter, and this time during the day. Before leaving, I go to a refugee camp located ahead of the border. Since Turkey closed its doors, Syrians gather near the border. They all fled their villages in shambles and the bombings. 

*All names have been changed
Translated from French

Read this content in Email this pageEnvoyer à un ami0CommentairesImprimer