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From the Field3 min read


On the Syrian Border | Refugee Families Fight to Stay Alive

Vernon Brewer
Feb 09, 2013

Today I’m on the Syrian border, where despair has spread like a sickness.

Children stare blankly ahead as they wander in the streets, looking for food or ways of earning money. Elderly people sit on the cold ground, huddled together for warmth. Mothers wondering if they’ll ever see their husbands again . . . if they’ll be able to keep their children alive for another day. It’s a scene of desperation that I’ll never be able to forget.

Orphaned children

These Syrian refugees are living near the border in dilapidated vacant buildings with as many as six families crammed into two small rooms. These refugees—mostly women and children—had to flee with only the clothes they were wearing. Many lost their husbands, fathers, brothers, and uncles to the ongoing violence—some brutally tortured and killed right in front of their children. Others have left to join the fighting, leaving their families with virtually no source of protection . . . and no way to find food.

Refugees’ voices begin to break as they tell me about the children—maimed, tortured, used as human shields, ripped from their mothers arms—stories that don’t seem important enough to make our news headlines.

The future of the next generation hangs unsteadily, surrounded by chaos and bloodshed. The prospect of new life is tainted by a growing fear.

Mohamed and his wife Roa are expecting. Roa had two miscarriages in Syria because of all the tension and constant shellings that have already claimed the lives of over 60,000 innocent civilians since March of 2011.

The couple is only 36 years old but they looked much older—the weight of the crisis has taken a terrible toll.  Due in less than a month, Roa  is terrified she is going to lose this baby also. Imagine what they must be feeling—the joyful anticipation of meeting your child for the first time, dimmed by the thought of countless days of danger and uncertainty ahead. Fear is stealing away all hope for their future.

Roa and Mohamed

In another run down building we found four families with 12 children living in two rooms. Everyone sleeps on the cold, hard floor. They used to live in the suburbs of Damascus and just received news yesterday that their home was destroyed by shelling. They told me they have nothing to go back to.

Food is nowhere to be found.  Seventy percent of all Syrian refugees, like the ones we met today, live outside the displacement camps, where resources are almost entirely depleted. 

When we arrived on the street with a truckload of aid supplies—it was the first glimpse of good news that many had seen in months! We distributed staple food items like cooking oil, rice, sugar, flour, butter, and canned vegetables as well as other vital resources like propane stoves and tanks, heaters, blankets, wheelchairs, and medicine to 100 families, including nearly 1000 children.

Here’s a short video clip of what you’re generous gifts are providing to these desperate refugee families:

Watch the Video on Vimeo

None of the nearly 100 families we visited would have eaten today if we hadn’t been there. If you hadn’t given to send immediate aid to our network of humanitarian aid partners on the ground.

But, right now there are thousands more who are still hungry … still desperate for help as the bitter cold of winter begins to take over the region.

Livelihoods have been lost, homes reduced to rubble, and entire families are unraveling from the emotional and psychological trauma of the violence that is ripping through the streets of Syria.

We must help them. It’s the only way they’ll be able to survive. It’s the only way their children will live another day. There’s no time to waste!

For just $100, you can help feed an entire refugee family. It’s such a small price to pay to save the lives of these innocent people. Will you help me?

Please give your best gift today. And please . . . please continue to pray for the millions of desperate people scattered along the Syrian border—that lives will be saved, that the slaughter will stop, and that God would bring comfort and restoration to the children, the ones who are suffering the most.

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Syrian Refugee

For most refugees, there’s nothing to do but wait—there’s nowhere to go, and nothing to hope for. Many are giving in to hopelessness—wondering if anyone cares enough to help.



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