Syrian refugees dream of going to Europe as conditions worsen
Syrian refugees in Lebanon are desperately looking to Europe for asylum as living conditions in their current location have declined with relief supplies dwindling.
More than 1.1 million Syrian refugees have fled their homes to the neighboring Lebanon since fighting broke out in 2011.
Amira is a Syrian refugee, who has been living for three years in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley with her husband and four children. Without a stable income, the family has to live on relief provided by the United Nations.
But the relief has been cut recently as donations and aid from Western countries cannot arrive in Lebanon in time. Amira said her family used to get 200 U.S. dollars in relief fund per month, but now they get only 50, far from being enough to keep the family going.
Amira said she grew a desire to go to Europe as she saw a large number of refugees swarming to the continent.
The Syrian refugees in Lebanon can legally seek asylum in Europe if they are deemed qualified by the UN refugee resettlement program. But the chances are slim. Many people have sneaked into Turkey and then into other European countries.
Amira has submitted a number of applications with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), but all of them were turned down.
“I’ve handed in applications to the UN, but they told me I was not qualified to apply for asylum. They have the right to choose which families can apply for asylum and which country they can go to,” said Amira.
Moreover, Amira said she cannot accept the terms of some recieving countries. Refugees are not allowed to invite their relatives to the countries and they are even not allowed to return to Syria in the future.
“I’m afraid I can never return to Syria if I leave. It’s horrible. I will definitely regret it if I leave,” said Amira.
Amira said she does not dare to embark on the perilous sea journey to Europe organized by human traffickers.
“The journey is not safe. Human traffickers may force people to leave ships midway at sea. If the conditions at sea are bad, traffickers will escape. I will put my daughters’ lives at stake if I choose the journey,” she said.
Amira said she hopes the Syrian crisis will end as soon as possible so that they may return home.
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