Safety Is Mostly Short-Lived for Internally Displaced Syrians

by World Food Programme | World Food Programme
Thursday, 23 January 2014 03:01 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Thousands of Syrians continue to move from one place to another seeking nothing but safety for themselves and their loved ones. Many of them are left homeless, jobless and in fear of losing even their hope for a peaceful future. Amal is a mother of two who found herself on the run for the second time but this time without her husband whom she was separated from in Adra Al Omaleya that had been their home for the past 18 months.

Mezzeh, DAMASCUS - The low-income development section of the town of Adra in the northeast of Damascus is built next to an industrial area. The place was originally built to accommodate workers and their families. However, a year into Syria's conflict the area turned into a refuge for internally displaced people from different governorates.

Amal and her husband Mohamed were among 80,000 people who took refuge in Adra Al Omaleya. Fierce fighting had forced them out of their house in Baba Amr in Homs with their two-year-old son Ahmed. Mohamed was lucky to find a job at a construction company only two months after they had settled in Adra Al Omaleya. They were also blessed with the arrival of their baby girl Yara, now three months old.

Amal and her family were among more than three million people who received WFP assistance inside Syria. 

"The moment we started to forget all about the hell that forced us to flee Baba Amr and regain some hope with the arrival of Yara who was a gift from God, another nightmare shook our lives," says Amal recalling fighting in Adra Al Omaleya in early December last year. "We woke up at 4 am to the noise of neighbours screaming, and heard nothing but deafening gunshots, all I could think of was saving my children," she said.

While Amal grabbed her children in search of a safer hiding place, her husband could not make it and she knows nothing about him until today. She had to walk long distances with one bag of clothes in one hand and carrying her baby daughter on the other hand while keeping her eyes on Ahmed as he walked by her side clutching the hem of her coat.

Amal now lives at her sister's place in Sheikh Sa'ad Area in Mezzeh. Still not knowing her husband's whereabouts and worried about becoming a burden on her brother-in-law who's already struggling to feed his own family, Amal says she is completely disoriented with all that had happened. "I am no longer sure of anything, I am worried and in doubt about the future of my kids. My biggest fear now, God forbids, is finding myself on the run again," she says while waiting to register at a local charity in order to receive WFP food assistance.