Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Horror Stories Of Syrian Refugees

As the Syrian military on Tuesday continued its relentless advance against protesters, citizens who had fled their homes for safety related "horror story upon horror story" to a reporter who managed to enter the country.

Despite the Syrian government's consistent refusal to give CNN and other international news organizations permission to enter the country, a CNN reporter crossed the Turkish border into northwestern Syria for a few hours Tuesday.

She spoke to people at a makeshift campsite near Kherbet al-Jouz, where tarpaulins strung between trees provided the only shelter from the elements for the hundreds of Syrians encamped there. One family said they had spent an entire night standing rather than lie in the mud. One man tried to protect himself from the rain with branches and a piece of tarpaulin.

Families bathed in a muddy stream, where they also washed the few clothes they had brought with them.

Illness has already begun to spread, said Mohammed Merri, a pharmacist who carried supplies with him as he fled, then set up something of a field hospital once he arrived at the camp. "My biggest problem is the children and people with heart disease," he said. "I don't have the medicine for that."

Most of the refugees here are from the region that includes the nearby city of Jisr al-Shugur, which government forces entered Sunday.

A number of people said they had witnessed bombings around the city as they fled. One man said soldiers shot at him, and a woman said she witnessed death.

"They set our fields on fire, destroyed our homes," said a woman who added that she was planning to try to cross into Turkey for protection. But others said they would remain in Syria, some hoping to find loved ones lost in the chaos, others hoping against hope to return to their homes.

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