With UNICEF Italia, I have visited the Syrian refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan.
All the caption are taken from two articles of Mr. Adriano Sofri on La Repubblica: “La città dei profughi”, 21 Novembre 2013 and “Tra i disperati in fuga dall’orrore Metà ammazzati, metà in esilio è questo il destino di noi siriani” 27.11.2013
Translation by Margherita Fioruzzi
We visit with UNICEF Syrian refugees in Jordan: about 600 thousand according to the UN, one million according to the government. Al Zaatari camp, in Mafraq, is famous. The mud and stones shopping street is called "Champs Elysées".
20 litres of potable water each, a lavatory every four tents.
Iraqi Kurdistan is less talked about, but hosts in its three provinces: Erbil, Dohuk, Suleimaniyah, around 230 and 250 thousand curd refugees from Syria. The largest camp is Domiz, in the province of Dohuk. 55 thousand people all in tents.
If you arrive at the camps on a sunny day it will seem to assist and the foundation of a city. On a rainy day, to its ruin.
"We are safe here, but as animals in a cage". "The fate of the Syrian population- says an old man who kept in silence- is divided: a half are murdered, the other half is in exile for years".
In the "transitory" camp of Arbat, in Suleimaniyah, remain "just" 2500 people. The school is a big container with 5 tents for 380 students splitted in two shifts. The teachers are refugees.
A part of the camp replaced containers to tents and caravans, and scattered gravel: elsewhere there remain tents and holes and drains. Rich residential areas and slums.
Ebrahim is a Citizen Kane of the camp; he arrived in July, 2012 with his 11 children. "They gave us cold meals and I though that I would open a Café".
Al Zaatari. The kids learn according to the Syrian education system. There's a girl who lost her legs, she is never absent.
UNICEF is ensuring wintery equipment for tens of thousand of children in the camps and in the hosting communities: clothes, shoes, blankets, warm areas.
Everything is much more difficult for the women, there's neither privacy nor intimacy in the tents. Some women are ashamed of going to the toilet under the scrutiny of other looks.
In Irbid the scholars registered are 85 thousand.
At Irbid, the former Arbela 30 km off the northern border of Amman, in a primary school which welcomes ages between 6 and 15, there have been enrolled the Syrian girls. In their school uniform they attend assembly in the courtyard: reading of the Koran, Jordan hymn chanted in chorus, long live the King, flag-raising.
Thirteen year old girls during their English class whilst being asked what they'll be doing as grown-ups.
The children let themselves be photographed with the "V" hand gesture - the smaller ones do it wrong and lift their fingers confusingly - they don't ask for anything but to shake hands.
The Kawrgosk camp, just outside Erbil, was opened last August, in three days.