Families divided by conflict in Syria, but hoping to return home soon

Published: 13 January 2014 15:20 CET

By Tommaso Della Longa, IFRC

Bare walls, no furniture except for few mattresses and a small carpet in the middle. And the argument continues between the little boys and girls who want to watch cartoons on the small television and adults who are hoping for news from Syria. For many Syrians, this is now their lives. 70 per cent of those who crossed the border between Syria and Jordan have rented an apartment or rooms in host communities. Their hearts, however, have remained in Syria.

“Ten days ago I was thinking about returning to Syria,” says Hosam, who is 36 and is currently living in South Amman with his brother, their wives and five children. “I prefer living there with the bombings than here without dignity and support. I am still here only for my children and my wife; I cannot risk their lives any more.”

These two families are part of the 544,374 Syrian refugees, according to the latest UNHCR figures, hosted by Jordan. The government reports an additional one million refugees who were never officially registered. “In Jordan we are not able to work, we have no income and we are not used to begging from people. We don’t know what will happen to our families and children if the situation continues the same,” Hosam says.

This is a story repeated thousands of times. They first fled from Daraya or Homs to Damascus, and then the fear of war made them run away again, this time in to Jordan. The trip is a risk in itself; it takes days by car, longer on foot and most can’t afford the tremendous costs for a risky transportation. Many families become separated. In many cases, those who are in Jordan cannot get information about their loved ones back home. The lack of information can go on for months, sometimes even years.

“My daughter Sidra went silent for almost one week when she heard the first bomb, she stopped talking to anyone, and if you ask her any question she wouldn’t answer. Now she starts crying even if she hears fireworks nearby," Mustafa – Hosam’s brother – explains.

In Jordan, during day and with the sun, it is still warm, but it is getting colder every day. Forecasters are expecting snow soon, and a few days ago, large areas of the border were hit with rain and floods. With a severe winter expected this year, Syrians are afraid; children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. “We are not asking for anything but blankets and mattresses to keep the children a bit warm, they sleep on the ground and we are not able to offer them anything,” Hosam says.

Stories about the tragedy of war and death since the conflict began are as persistent as the bombs that took away the voices of children for days. You can see the desperation as they has to abandon their land.

The Jordan National Red Crescent Society conducts a Cash Transfer Program to support the most vulnerable families with some grants to cover the most urgent needs including rent, which is highly appreciated by beneficiaries. It ensures the dignity of refugees as they can decide how to spend their money as per needs and gives them the opportunity to organize their lives.