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'Like sheep to the slaughter,' deported refugee likens his return from Turkey to Syria

Syrian Refugees | 2019-08-09 23:04:00
'Like sheep to the slaughter,' deported refugee likens his return from Turkey to Syria

(Zaman Al Wasl)-  “Like sheep to the slaughter,” one young man likens his return to the north of Syria after being deported from Turkey. The terrifying paradox in the Syrian case is their fear for their lives knowing their inevitable return to their country; so unlike all the peoples of the earth who can not hold back the joy of returning to their birthplace, the land of family and memories sweet and bitter.

Ahmed, a young man who has struggled and paid a large amount of money to reach Turkey, ending up in a sort of prison, afraid to leave the threshold of his residence for fear of arrest and deportation.

"I will not go back," says journalist Mohammed al-Owaid, who has been living in France for five years, "fear has possessed him mornings and evenings, and every hour, fear spreads far beyond Syria’s borders, reaching all continents, wherever a refugee sets foot".

Al-Owaid wondered, “How to think of going back where the flames of hell burn with someone to ignite it daily”, stressing that nothing has changed today. “We are in need of justice, law and its sovereignty to sleep, with no one to bring us back to prisons and displacement. We want the killers to leave but they are still at the forefront of the scene. We want the departure of the new and old invaders, we want and we wan, we want to sleep as people do. Is it much to ask?”

"A home is not made of dust or stone, it is a place where people achieve safety and dignity," says psychology professor Dr. Linda Al-Nafouri. She stresses that people want to settle down and live in a place of safety, highlighting that if "a person finds safety and stability he can create, live well and can be a productive member of society, but when there is no safety and stability this leads to more anxiety and tension."
She explains to Zaman al-Wasl that when Syrians think of returning to Syria with no guarantees of safety and stability, it leads to more fear, anxiety and tension, pointing out that "the fear of returning to the homeland is the fear of returning to the unknown. One cannot return to his work or to the place where they once lived and belonged, only to the unknown."

"When Syrians first left Syria, they were not received within the framework of international organizations or in an effective program that could contain them because of the forced displacement imposed on them. When they do return to Syria, there are no associations or international or local attention either, causing more anxiety and tension. They left in fear and anxiety, existed in a place full of anxiety and disturbances, and then again doubling that fear. How would anyone be in a healthy psychological state, inevitably, they will be disturbed and worried anyway,'' she said.

She sees that, "The psychological effects that will dominate are primarily frustration, the inability to improve living conditions, and the inability to be stable economically or socially," noting that, "displacement often results in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A consequence of the violence that may have been subjected to, as they did not yet recover from the first shock before they were exposed to a second shock. How can a person cope with this situation? This leads to the accumulation of mental disorders of depression, anxiety, feelings of fear, and the inability to make any decisive decisions. In the end, one feels completely lost, from any decisions or any means of living within this society in which must stay. "

She concluded by saying that, "Displacement, by force of arms or confiscation of property, which is the most heinous of displacements, has profound psychological effects that require international and local governmental support for the rehabilitation of displaced persons or refugees upon their return to their country."

Horrific reports revealed a policy of forced deportation in Lebanon, which is being obscured by the media. Turkey has also begun to implement a similar policy, with more than 6,000 Syrians deported through Bab al-Hawa crossing alone, in July.

Lawyer Mohammed al-Aswad considers the Syrians’ shock towards the international community as moral and legal as it has shown an unprecedented incompetence towards refugees who have been living in primitive tents for nine years; nor has it been able to maintain laws and covenants, such as the 1951 Refugee Convention signed by both Lebanon and Turkey. Nonetheless, thousands of Syrians have been forcibly deported without regard to the threat to their lives.

In a statement to Zaman Al Wasl, Al-Aswad expressed his surprise at the silence of the United Nations bodies and human rights organizations about this shameful violation, for which international courts and human rights organizations have been mobilized. He pointed out that this silence is a disgrace from a society that claims to defend human rights and to preserve dignity.

He emphasized the UN’s inability to provide the minimum standards of life for Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, especially in Lebanon, whose politicians manipulated even labels, succeeding in revoking the status of "refugee" to Syrians there, to deprive them of international protection, and calling them "displaced" to be fully subject to the laws of the country in which they are, thus Facilitating their persecution and deportation.

Al-Aswad called for pressuring international organizations to take their full role in defending the rights of refugees in Syria's neighboring countries: To demand lists of Syrian to be deported from Turkey and Lebanon, and to work with and reach out to European and Western countries to secure asylum that protects their lives.


Since the Syrian revolution erupted in 2011, more than 560,000 people have been killed, and more than 6.5 million people have been displaced.

By Mohamed al-Hammadi

Zaman Al Wasl
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