Archive | Syria

Jordan to Host “World’s Largest Refugee Camp”

As violence in Syria continues, the al-Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is on pace to become the largest in the world.

Jordan’s al-Zaatari refugee camp is currently home to 160,000 Syrian refugees (Dahr Jamail/Al Jazeera)

Amman, Jordan – Al-Zaatari refugee camp near Jordan’s northern border with Syria is the second largest refugee camp in the world. On days when violence in Syria worsens, between 2,000-4,000 Syrians flood into Zaatari, and the stories they tell are horrific.

“Things are happening in Syria that our minds couldn’t even imagine,” 65-year-old Nada Salim Abdullah, who has been in the camp four months, told Al Jazeera. “People were being captured and they were slaughtering them like chickens.”

Abdullah, who fled his home in Deraa with his family, spoke of atrocities committed by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Other refugees told Al Jazeera of atrocities carried out by opposition forces.

Nearly half a million Syrian refugees have crossed into Jordan since the conflict began, and according to Jordan’s interior ministry, the Zaatari camp is now the fifth largest population centre in the country.

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Praying, Not Playing

DAMASCUS — In the struggle now just to stay alive, everyone has forgotten that Iraq has lost, among other things, its tradition in sports. Some of its best sportsmen are now refugees.

“No one seems to care about us,” 20-year-old footballer Ali Rubai’i told IPS. Ali fled Iraq with his family to Syria like countless other young Iraqis. The young from Iraq, born after 1980, have grown up amidst three major wars, 13 years of strangling economic sanctions, and now five years of occupation.

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Poverty Gets the Survivors

DAMASCUS — More than a million Iraqis were lucky enough to flee into Syria. But in this relatively safe haven, there is no getting away from poverty.

Mohammad Saleem ran a successful supermarket in Baghdad. “I was leading a comfortable life with my family, despite the 13 years of UN sanctions,” Saleem told IPS in Damascus. “My four sons worked together to keep our supermarket running, and so we passed the dark sanctions period successfully. The big suffering started with the 2003 occupation that brought closed roads and reduced income for people.”

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