Afghan refugees in Syria; we can not even escape ..

By: Basir Ahang

Source: BBC persian http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/afghanistan/2013/08/130829_l09_afghan_refugees_in_syria.shtml

From drowning in the shores of Australia to Europe to getting stuck in the rocks of ‘Salmas’ the border between Iran and turkey. There won’t be a place where you won’t find the footstep of Afghan Refugees. There is no end to the pain and sufferings of Afghan refugees.

recently the violence in Syria has reached its peak, and according to reports almost 1000 afghan refugees are caught in the outskirts of capital Damascus; facing a huge human catastrophe. The refugees in the region known as the “Sayyida Zaynab” have taken refuge in an abandoned house on the outskirts of Damascus.

Arabain, Zamalka, Jobar and Ain Tarma are the places that were effected by Wednesday last weeks chemical attack. these place are only in a distance of 3 to 4 Kilometers from the place Afghan refugees live.

On the other hand because most of the Afghan refugees belong to Shia sect of Islam, they will be facing serious threat if sunni extremist groups take over the outskirts of Damascus.

Arif Adbi, one of the refugees in Syria says; we don’t even have a way to escape from Syria. Firstly they are in  complete siege, secondly they don’t have any passport or document they may use if they get out of Syria. they only have stay forms issued by UN.

UNHCR has mentioned the number of Afghan refugees in Syria up till 1750 people. but Ali says’ those who had the capability to get out of Syria have escaped from Syria and migrated to neighboring countries like Turkey. but number of those who are caught in the ongoing war in Syria are 1000.

Criticism on the United Nation

Mr Faqiri and another few people who have been trying to save Afghan refugees say; the residency of Afghan refugees come under mortar shells once a day, as a result of which 10 Afghan refugees have been killed and 30 inured.

Mr Faqri and his friends criticize UN on no not helping them. they say despite requesting UN many times, they haven’t yet got any response from them.

Faqiri adds; though all the Afghan refugees in Syria are registered to UN via UNHCR and they are officially know as refugees. But nothing substantial has been done to ensure their safety. ”

Irresponsible government

Arif Adbi, Afghan refugee in Syria says; Though Afghan foreign ministry has promised to get the people out here in the Media, but they have not been contacted yet and they only have heard about it on the media.

Arif criticizes Afghan government for lying on the media. as if they have tried to help Afghan refugees in Syria, but have rejected this plan and they want to go to western countries.

Risk of a humanitarian disaster

There have been concerns on the condition of Afghan refugees after the chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus. Mr Arif Adbi says; more than half of Afghan refugees caught in Syria are children and women. there are 475 children between the age of 8 to 15 and 90 women, among them 24 of them are minded woman. He adds; women and children are more vulnerable in this condition and any time any tragedy can happen to them.

Considering the current situation of Syria it is not far from reality that the war in Syria get more ugly and dangerous. and it is huge possibilities that the  War is also extended to areas where Afghan refugees are sheltering

If the Afghan Government and international Organizations to pay attention to the situation of Afghan refugees caught in the war in Syria, then they will be witnessing a human catastrophe

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About Abdul Ghafoor

Abdul Ghafoor is a refugee rights activist and blogger stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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