map
youtube twitter facebook Google Paly App Stores

Victims until today

3907

My story: Tragedy of a refugee who lived the siege, tasted the bitterness of torment and pain of separation.

Published : 03-05-2017

My story: Tragedy of a refugee who lived the siege, tasted the bitterness of torment and pain of separation.

From within the mounds of debris into which civilian homes have been turned in war-torn Syria emerges the story of 46-year-old Abu Mohammed, who has been a living witness to the plight of war, undernourishment, destruction, and deportation.

Like thousands of Palestinians and Syrians whose lives have gone nightmarish as a result of the unabated hostilities, Abu Mohammed sought shelter overseas, onboard the “death boats” to Europe, dreaming of a better future.

On December 16, 2012, Abu Mohammed fled Yarmouk following an offensive by the Syrian fighter jets that claimed the lives of dozens of civilians and left others severely wounded. At the same time, opposition outfits grabbed hold of the camp.

Having no place to hide into, Abu Mohammed took refuge in a provisional shelter before he decided to send his wife and children back to Jordan and to return to Yarmouk to help the trapped civilians.

 

“Shortly after Abdul Qadir AlHusseini Mosque and AlFalouja School were struck by the Syrian government forces and the opposition outfits crept into the camp, the government squads imposed a partial blockade on Yarmouk,” said Abu Mohammed. “However a complete closure was later enforced by the government forces on Yarmouk, blocking the entry of much-needed foodstuff, medicines, and fuel. Power and Water supplies to the camp have also been cut off.”

Abu Mohammed added that dozens of civilians breathed their last in the camp as a result of the acute dearth in food and drugs. “The impoverished residents found no other stuff to eat or drink except for water drops and tree branches.”

“The blockade has affected our souls just as it did our bodies. It is a fatal weapon of mass annihilation. We saw with our own eyes how children died of starvation,” the refugee stated. “At a certain point in time, civilians have been made to wonder for hours in streets in the hunt for food to feed their dying children.  We were made to eat weeds, cactus trees, and poisonous herbs. Residents who were on the verge of death were even forced to eat cats and dogs.”

“As a resident of Yarmouk I saw hundreds of people dying slowly as they lost dozens of kilograms of their overall weights and children spending sleepless nights, hoping to get a loaf of bread at daybreak; others have starved to death in the camp,” the affidavit went.

Abu Mohammed said his rib cage has gone exposed after he lost nearly 50 kilograms of his overall weight, estimated at 105 prior to the blockade days.

Abu Mohammed pointed out the surge in home break-ins and burglary due to the high rates of unemployment and the lack of financial resources in the camp.

“Some of us went out at night disguised to gather foodstuff from the trash,” he said. “I remember that I once jolted out of the chair as soon I caught sight of a rotten bread loaf in a vegetable basket.”

As an ambulance driver and relief activist, Abu Mohammed witnessed dozens of heart-breaking events.

“I know now how it feels like to be hungry; I’d tasted the bitterness of starvation about which I only heard in works of fictions and legends when I was a child. I was a witness to many horrific stories that broke my heart and made me wish I were dead. I remember that I saw a mother who left her two-year-old daughter on the sidewalk because she could not secure food for her; I also saw rats eating the body of a man who died of starvation; on another day I met a group of children standing near a sweets shop with tears in their eyes, having no money to by Harissa at 700 Syrian Pounds a piece. Moments later they rushed to grab the sweet wrapper thrown by gunmen.”

Abu Mohammed said never ever in his lifetime shall he forget the memory of people lining up in long queues to get a mouthful of bare soup, which they sipped right on the spot.

 

A Journey from Yarmouk towards the Unknown:

Abu Mohammed did not think of leaving Yarmouk until ISIS stormed the camp in early April 2015, in cooperation with Fatah AlSham battalion (formerly known as Nusra Front). Abu Mohammed sought shelter in Qudsaya, in Rif Dimashq, for fear of undergoing the same fate as dozens of relief activists who were executed in cold-blood by ISIS.

The refugee thought of migrating to Turkey and then to Europe “as life had become unbearable in Syria and death closer than ever”. He then made a deal with a smuggler and left Qudsaya, not knowing the risks he was exposing himself to. He was detained by gunmen in Idlib for 10 days, during which he said he “had been subjected to heavy beating and harsh torture.” He was later released after the gunmen found out he was not a pro-government fighter.

Abu Mohammed headed to the Turkish city of Izmir before he embarked to Greece onboard an inflatable boat carrying some 40 migrants.

“At some point the lightweight boat was about to sink due to a sudden weather change. Several children and women kept weeping bitter tears overnight in the heart of darkness, fearing they would die off the coast,” he said.

“As soon as we disembarked in Greece we were caught by the police and forced to put down our names on migration backlists. We were later given notices to leave Greece in no more than three months,” the story went on. “I moved to Athens and then to Macedonia before I headed to Serbia. After every stopover I had to walk for so long to reach the border area. I managed to reach Hungary shortly before it decided to block off its borders before migrants. I then moved to Austria and later to Germany. The trip cost me some $9,000.”

Abu Mohammed arrived in Germany on November 22, 2015 and stayed for a few days at his friend’s house until he recovered from the pains wrought by an exhaustive trip. He then turned himself in to the German police and underwent the routine refugee procedures.

Soon he started to realize that his tragedy was not over as he remembered how far away he has been from his children and wife, whom he has not seen for six years.

“They must have been suffering in Jordan. My presence means the world to my wife and children just as theirs do to me,” he said. “My six-year old daughter refused to talk to me on Skype because she failed to recognize me. I last met her when she was ten-month old.”

He attributed part of his tragedy to the tough German restrictions and crackdowns on refugees from Syria. The latest such restrictions occurred on November 23, 2016, when the Higher Administrative Court in the northern German city of Schleswig-Holstein has ruled that refugees from Syria are only entitled to subsidiary protection, rather than full asylum, a designation under European law that means they are only entitled to stay in Germany one year, rather than three, and are not allowed to bring their families with them.

No official statistics are available on the exact number of Palestinian refugees from Syria in Germany, classified as stateless by the German law. As a signatory to the Geneva Convention, Germany is bound to grant citizenship to stateless asylum-seekers based on the German Citizenship Law of 2000.

Abu Mohammed was only granted a one-year stay, preventing him from the right to family reunification and making his dream to hold his five daughters in his arms a hopeless endeavor.

 

Caught between the hammer and the anvil, Abu Mohammed has either to stay in Germany until his dream comes true or to come back to war-torn Syria, where he might be killed in the rampant warfare at any possible moment.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/5101

From within the mounds of debris into which civilian homes have been turned in war-torn Syria emerges the story of 46-year-old Abu Mohammed, who has been a living witness to the plight of war, undernourishment, destruction, and deportation.

Like thousands of Palestinians and Syrians whose lives have gone nightmarish as a result of the unabated hostilities, Abu Mohammed sought shelter overseas, onboard the “death boats” to Europe, dreaming of a better future.

On December 16, 2012, Abu Mohammed fled Yarmouk following an offensive by the Syrian fighter jets that claimed the lives of dozens of civilians and left others severely wounded. At the same time, opposition outfits grabbed hold of the camp.

Having no place to hide into, Abu Mohammed took refuge in a provisional shelter before he decided to send his wife and children back to Jordan and to return to Yarmouk to help the trapped civilians.

 

“Shortly after Abdul Qadir AlHusseini Mosque and AlFalouja School were struck by the Syrian government forces and the opposition outfits crept into the camp, the government squads imposed a partial blockade on Yarmouk,” said Abu Mohammed. “However a complete closure was later enforced by the government forces on Yarmouk, blocking the entry of much-needed foodstuff, medicines, and fuel. Power and Water supplies to the camp have also been cut off.”

Abu Mohammed added that dozens of civilians breathed their last in the camp as a result of the acute dearth in food and drugs. “The impoverished residents found no other stuff to eat or drink except for water drops and tree branches.”

“The blockade has affected our souls just as it did our bodies. It is a fatal weapon of mass annihilation. We saw with our own eyes how children died of starvation,” the refugee stated. “At a certain point in time, civilians have been made to wonder for hours in streets in the hunt for food to feed their dying children.  We were made to eat weeds, cactus trees, and poisonous herbs. Residents who were on the verge of death were even forced to eat cats and dogs.”

“As a resident of Yarmouk I saw hundreds of people dying slowly as they lost dozens of kilograms of their overall weights and children spending sleepless nights, hoping to get a loaf of bread at daybreak; others have starved to death in the camp,” the affidavit went.

Abu Mohammed said his rib cage has gone exposed after he lost nearly 50 kilograms of his overall weight, estimated at 105 prior to the blockade days.

Abu Mohammed pointed out the surge in home break-ins and burglary due to the high rates of unemployment and the lack of financial resources in the camp.

“Some of us went out at night disguised to gather foodstuff from the trash,” he said. “I remember that I once jolted out of the chair as soon I caught sight of a rotten bread loaf in a vegetable basket.”

As an ambulance driver and relief activist, Abu Mohammed witnessed dozens of heart-breaking events.

“I know now how it feels like to be hungry; I’d tasted the bitterness of starvation about which I only heard in works of fictions and legends when I was a child. I was a witness to many horrific stories that broke my heart and made me wish I were dead. I remember that I saw a mother who left her two-year-old daughter on the sidewalk because she could not secure food for her; I also saw rats eating the body of a man who died of starvation; on another day I met a group of children standing near a sweets shop with tears in their eyes, having no money to by Harissa at 700 Syrian Pounds a piece. Moments later they rushed to grab the sweet wrapper thrown by gunmen.”

Abu Mohammed said never ever in his lifetime shall he forget the memory of people lining up in long queues to get a mouthful of bare soup, which they sipped right on the spot.

 

A Journey from Yarmouk towards the Unknown:

Abu Mohammed did not think of leaving Yarmouk until ISIS stormed the camp in early April 2015, in cooperation with Fatah AlSham battalion (formerly known as Nusra Front). Abu Mohammed sought shelter in Qudsaya, in Rif Dimashq, for fear of undergoing the same fate as dozens of relief activists who were executed in cold-blood by ISIS.

The refugee thought of migrating to Turkey and then to Europe “as life had become unbearable in Syria and death closer than ever”. He then made a deal with a smuggler and left Qudsaya, not knowing the risks he was exposing himself to. He was detained by gunmen in Idlib for 10 days, during which he said he “had been subjected to heavy beating and harsh torture.” He was later released after the gunmen found out he was not a pro-government fighter.

Abu Mohammed headed to the Turkish city of Izmir before he embarked to Greece onboard an inflatable boat carrying some 40 migrants.

“At some point the lightweight boat was about to sink due to a sudden weather change. Several children and women kept weeping bitter tears overnight in the heart of darkness, fearing they would die off the coast,” he said.

“As soon as we disembarked in Greece we were caught by the police and forced to put down our names on migration backlists. We were later given notices to leave Greece in no more than three months,” the story went on. “I moved to Athens and then to Macedonia before I headed to Serbia. After every stopover I had to walk for so long to reach the border area. I managed to reach Hungary shortly before it decided to block off its borders before migrants. I then moved to Austria and later to Germany. The trip cost me some $9,000.”

Abu Mohammed arrived in Germany on November 22, 2015 and stayed for a few days at his friend’s house until he recovered from the pains wrought by an exhaustive trip. He then turned himself in to the German police and underwent the routine refugee procedures.

Soon he started to realize that his tragedy was not over as he remembered how far away he has been from his children and wife, whom he has not seen for six years.

“They must have been suffering in Jordan. My presence means the world to my wife and children just as theirs do to me,” he said. “My six-year old daughter refused to talk to me on Skype because she failed to recognize me. I last met her when she was ten-month old.”

He attributed part of his tragedy to the tough German restrictions and crackdowns on refugees from Syria. The latest such restrictions occurred on November 23, 2016, when the Higher Administrative Court in the northern German city of Schleswig-Holstein has ruled that refugees from Syria are only entitled to subsidiary protection, rather than full asylum, a designation under European law that means they are only entitled to stay in Germany one year, rather than three, and are not allowed to bring their families with them.

No official statistics are available on the exact number of Palestinian refugees from Syria in Germany, classified as stateless by the German law. As a signatory to the Geneva Convention, Germany is bound to grant citizenship to stateless asylum-seekers based on the German Citizenship Law of 2000.

Abu Mohammed was only granted a one-year stay, preventing him from the right to family reunification and making his dream to hold his five daughters in his arms a hopeless endeavor.

 

Caught between the hammer and the anvil, Abu Mohammed has either to stay in Germany until his dream comes true or to come back to war-torn Syria, where he might be killed in the rampant warfare at any possible moment.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/5101