Collaborating Authors

Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in fear after Arsal

Al Jazeera

Bekaa Valley, Lebanon - Five times in as many years, the Lebanese army has forced Abu Ahmad and his family to dismantle and move the plywood-and-tarpaulin structure where they have lived in the Bekaa Valley since 2012. "It took me 15 days to build this one," Abu Ahmad told Al Jazeera, sitting on a thin red mat inside the family's most recent hand-built structure. "Imagine - as soon as I finished building the last one, the army came and told me I had 10 minutes to take it down." Their tent and 67 others in the village of Dalhamiyeh are among hundreds of informal clusters of Syrian refugee tents that dot the fertile plain, Lebanon's breadbasket, along the border with Syria. Abu Ahmad's life in Lebanon has been one of near constant worry and instability, including fear of another "security"-based eviction by the Lebanese army; fear he will be unable to scrape together enough money for rent on their small scrap of land; fear of damaging his children's future by sending them to work at local farms rather than to school; and increasingly, fear of when and how he will return home.

Syrians should not be forced to return to an unsafe Syria

Al Jazeera

Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are facing increasingly difficult circumstances in camps inside Syria and a number of host countries. With many countries looking to cut funds for humanitarian aid due to economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, displaced Syrians are likely to face even worse prospects in the following months. At the same time, a political solution that would guarantee the rights of the displaced to a safe, voluntary and dignified return is not even on the horizon. It increasingly seems that the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are solely focused on cementing the political and demographic changes achieved through violence. Yet there seems to be growing support for the repatriation of large numbers of Syrians to regime-held areas without any real guarantees for their security or international presence to ensure their basic rights are respected.

Aleppo's orphans replay their trauma with war games in the rubble - Syria's nationwide cease-fire holding despite minor violations

FOX News

Since the fall of Aleppo to Syrian government forces last week, the outskirts of the battered city have become a mass of displacement camps where tiny children don't play hide and seek -- they play hide and shoot. According to emergency response workers who are tending to the people fleeing the eastern parts of the city that the rebels held, the mental and physical condition of the children is, as one put it, "unfathomable." Many of these children of war are now playing their own war games to pass the time. A food delivery for children forced to leave their homes. "The little boys play'regime versus rebels.'

The blindness of war for Syrian refugees

Al Jazeera

Before the outbreak of Syria's war, she was receiving successful treatment for retinal detachment - a condition that causes the tissue sending visual messages to the brain to come loose. Regular check-ups and specialist care meant that her sight was improving. But when fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group stormed Hala's hometown of Tadmur in May 2015, her family was forced to flee to the Rukban refugee camp, located in the no-man's land between Syria and Jordan. Leaving their home also meant leaving behind any chance of Hala's sight improving. She is now totally blind in one eye, and increasingly so in the other.

Building for peace amid the war in Syria

Al Jazeera

It may sound impossible and even naive, but there are good reasons to keep trying to build for peace in the midst of a devastating war. While a seemingly endless, bloody battle rages in Syria, while thousands are killed and injured, while hospitals are bombed, while a death cult has captured swaths of territory and enslaved populations, while a terrible human exodus continues - the piece of the picture that we might not always see from afar is at the grassroots level. Here, networks and organisations are fighting to maintain a semblance of society, to sustain the day-to-day fabric that holds people, families, communities and human life together. Those efforts on the ground cannot stop Bashar al-Assad's relentless barrel bombs and they do not reduce the need for an urgent political solution to the war - but they are no less vital. One key reason such efforts are so essential was highlighted by a recent report looking at why young Syrians join extremists groups, by International Alert, a peace-building organisation that works with grassroots Syrian partner groups.