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Syrian Refugees Long for Home
   2016-05-05 16:46:57    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Zhang Guanghao

Syrian refugees work at Ahmed Ali's bicycle repairing shop in the market of Za'atari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan on Monday, March 21, 2016. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com / Zhang Jin]

This week on the Beijing Hour we've been hearing the human stories behind the conflict in Syria.

Now in its 6th year, the Syrian civil war has made millions of people refugees, living in camps in neighbouring countries or crossing continents in search of new lives.

CRI's Victor Ning takes us to a refugee camp, where the residents long to return to their homes.


55-year-old Ahmed Ali has been living in the Za'atari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan for two and a half years. Owning a bicycle repair shop in the camp's market, he lives a better life than most of the other Syrian refugees here. However, for him, happiness has been long lost.

"I feel nostalgic. I love my country. I would love to go back. We used to have houses, lands, farms and cars. We were happy. We had enough food. How can I be happy here?"

Located 12 kilometers from the Syrian border, the Za'atari Refugee Camp currently hosts around 80,000 refugees and migrants. Most of them are from Daraa, a southern Syrian city bordering Jordan.

Gavin David White is the camp's external relations officer.

"Some people did choose to actually return to Syria in spite of the dangers that oppose to them there, because they didn't want to remain in a state of limbo. There is not a normal life to remain a refugee, without the three options either return, integration or resettle them in a third country. If you are to ask refugees themselves what is your priority, 'we want to go home to Syria.' This is 100 percent the case."

Canada has agreed to settle a total of 25,000 Syrian refugees, with 7,000 spots were given to Zaatari. However, one in four offered those opportunities to go to Canada declined.

The migration restrictions implemented by European countries have made it more difficult for the Syrian refugees to travel there, according to Muhammad Ramadan.

"Many people are travelling to Europe because of the future of their kids. But then we saw on TV that many people were seized. Some people who went there sent back awful stories and told people here not to even attempt it. It's not easy."

Despite the fragile truce in Syria, Ahmed Ali wishes to go home soon and rebuild his home.

"I'm ready to go back home. When the situation is calm, I will go with my bare feet. Not only me, everybody, we'll all go back home."

For Muhammad Ramadan, there are more things to consider.

"I may not go back immediately, because most of us are workers and farmers, there won't be enough work to go back to. Basically we need two things: we need peace and work, the minimum stuff to live. Unless there's something to do, investment, some opportunities to work, we will not go back. I can't support my family without a job. "

The United Nations says it had registered more than 4.8 million Syrian refugees as of April 25th.

For CRI, I'm Victor Ning.

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