Syrian life-saver on route to safety in Europe

Published: 25 November 2015 23:08 CET

By John Engedal Nissen, IFRC

Ahmad Beshar’s epic journey from his war-torn home has already taken months. On arrival at the Slavonski Brod transit camp in Croatia, the former Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) medical volunteer was able to have a much-needed clean-up, a quick rest and something to eat.“I finally took a shower and now I’m waiting for the train [to Slovenia],” said Beshar.

Staff and volunteers from the Croatian Red Cross are working around-the-clock in the camp, distributing food, water and clothing while people wait to embark on the next leg of their journeys.

On entering the camp, Beshar was given a Red Cross food parcel. Psychological support for people suffering trauma or stress is also being provided.

Difficult journey but Syria is worse

Although Beshar and the thousands of other people passing through Slavonski Brod every day are able to access emergency supplies and support at the camp, the journey to Croatia has been fraught.

“I was arrested and spent two months sleeping on the floor in Greece. I was also robbed at one point and the authorities in Serbia did not treat us well,” he said.

But the situation was even worse in Syria, where Beshar was working for SARC, transporting patients to hospital.

He said: “My role was to help bring injured people to safety and for medical treatment.  But the situation in Syria became intolerable and too dangerous.” Beshar hopes to eventually be able to continue his studies in tourism in Europe and challenge some of the stereotypes associated with people who seek asylum here.

“We do not come to Europe to stand still and claim financial support,” he said. “We come here to build a life, to contribute, to work and to study.”