Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

Danin analyzes critical developments and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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Voices From Syria

by Robert M. Danin
December 13, 2013

Syrian refugees from the town of Qara gather around a fire to keep themselves warm in a Syrian refugee camp on the Lebanese border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley December 12, 2013 (Haju/Courtesy Reuters).


“We came here in the winter but it would have been better if we had stayed in Syria. At least if you die, you die in your own house.” –Ibrahim, 27, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon

“The fear of permanence is very embedded in the Lebanese political psyche…We had Palestinian refugees who were supposed to stay here for a month in 1948, and now they are a population of 500,000. And we went through a fifteen-year civil war where the Palestinians were a large player.” –Makram Malaeb, a manager in the Syrian refugee crisis unit at the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs

“If you’re taken, it means torture and dismemberment. It will demoralize the other brothers. And to negotiate means haggling over the fate of our nation.” –Ahmed Luay, Assad government supporter

“The U.S. is supporting us with expired tuna, and in this way they think they are supporting the revolution.” –Moaz, a Syrian activist and refugee

“For example, someone comes from Tunisia. He flies to the international airport wearing jihadi clothes and a jihadi beard and he has jihadi songs on his mobile…If the Turkish government wants to prevent them coming into the country, it would do so, but they don’t.” –Mohammed, a Syrian ‘facilitator’ explaining the ease of smuggling fighters across the border from Turkey into Syria

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