The Inter-Church Refugee Partnership has submitted the required paperwork to sponsor an extended at risk Syrian refugee family. The family consists of Abu Ziad*, his wife and three children, his parents and his youngest brother.
When the conflict escalated and people were being displaced, Abu Ziad* began to do volunteer relief work in humanitarian and medical support. He and some colleagues established a small health center to help people around his region. After that, the Syrian regime started to persecute him. He was at risk of being arrested and detained by security forces because of his relief work. Security agents began to look for him, often harassing his family at their home. It became unsafe for him to go home, or even to be with his wife and children, so he moved around, staying at different relatives’ homes.
At the same time, an extremist group was also looking for him. Since Abu and his family are Alawite Muslims, they are persecuted. The extremist groups and radicals spread rumours that Abu was a spy, even going so far as to posting his and his family’s pictures on Facebook, which made them even more vulnerable.
Due to these threats to his life, he departed for Lebanon, leaving his wife and children behind. His wife followed him later on and Abu’s parents and younger brother also later joined him in Lebanon.
In Lebanon, Abu cannot work due to the restrictions on employing Syrians, and he cannot travel freely due to a new law that does not allow Syrians who leave Lebanon to re-enter the country. In addition, there is growing resentment towards Syrian refugees and discrimination and hostility towards them because of the scarcity of jobs and other resources. Some municipalities in Lebanon have curfews for Syrians. Even going to UNHCR is a risk because of the fear of being recognized by other Syrians and being reported to the authorities who could detain and deport him.
* He is using a pseudonym to protect his identity.