(Can you say Apartheid State?) As the civil war intensifies in Syria, more refugees are trying to escape the conflict. Some have crossed into Turkey. Others have gone to Lebanon. But the biggest refugee camp for Syrian refugees is in the neighboring Kingdom of Jordan. But not all refugees are allowed in.
Speaking in an immaculately clean tent over coffee and endless cigarettes, a 23-year-old construction worker who would only give his name as Mohamed said he left the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, where many Palestinians live, about two months ago. The place was getting violent and food was hard to find, he said.The young man said his mother is Syrian, but his father is Palestinian. Mohamed said the Jordanians are turning people back at the border if they have ID cards that say they’re Palestinian. Lucky for him, he has a Syrian ID.
Mohamed’s uncle, he said, is a Palestinian from Damascus who has been turned away at the Jordan border five times.
With his four-year-old son in his lap, Daloul said he’s happy to be in Jordan, away from the fighting in Syria. But he says it’s also frustrating. Daloul is registered as a Palestinian refugee, even though he was born in Syria. So are his kids. But his wife is registered as Syrian. Now, she’s staying with relatives elsewhere in Jordan, while Daloul and the children live in this single room. They are not allowed to leave the camp for any length of time, he said. And his wife cannot move in with them permanently. “It’s a difficult situation,” he said.
Daloul is 55 years old. He was born in Syria. His kids were born in Syria. If he goes back, his grandchildren will be born in Syria. But he’s not considered Syrian by the Syrian government, even though his wife is, and since his children have their father’s status, they’re also considered Palestinian.