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Syrian refugees flee violence but face new ordeals in Iraq

By Jamal Hashim, Zhang Ning (Xinhua)

10:20, July 30, 2012

Al-QAIM, Iraq, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Syrian refugees and Iraqi officials disclosed the difficulties that the refugees are suffering in Iraq's border town of al-Qaim after they fled their violence-shattered home country.

"I realized now that the hell of the shelling in my country ( Syria) is better than the promised paradise of living in schools and some government buildings," Abu Ahmed, 50, complained about the tight security measures in the Iraqi camps that left the Syrian refugees suffer from being treated like prisoners.

However, Abu Ahmed is very grateful to the residents of the city of al-Qaim and some humanitarian organizations, who are " doing their best to satisfy the needs of the refugees."

"Resorting to al-Qaim is our best choice because it is the nearest Iraqi city for us and because we have relatives in al-Qaim, " Abu Ahmed said, adding that he wish that the Iraqi authorities would let him live with his relatives.

Um Sameer, 45, a housewife from the Syrian city of al-BuKamal near the Iraqi border, told Xinhua "when I left my home I didn't think where I would live with my three daughters in Iraq, who would help us or how. We were terrified if the clash would come to our city, there would be shelling and mass killings."

"It is very difficult for my three daughters to live in such a way. I really wish the turbulence in my country will be over soon, " she said.

Mazin, 34, said the situation is unbearable for him as he is sitting at the camp and is fasting for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in which he would have to stop eating and drinking from before the sunrise until the sunset.

"It is hard here to fast in Ramadan for the high temperature and a lack of supplies for other needs," he said, adding that what makes it worse is that his wife is an Iraqi national and has left him to visit her parents in al-Qaim but he is not allowed to leave the camp.

For his part, Abdul-Basit Eiyadah, supervisor of one of the camps in al-Qaim, said "the security measures by the Iraqi army are so tight that some refugees told their relatives and friends in Syria not to come to Iraq."

However, Eiyadah is optimistic that things start to change after a visit by a delegation of senior officials, headed by Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi and Minister of Immigration Dindar al-Dosky.

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