Exodus to Syria

Marketplace Staff Jul 25, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: An Israeli warplane fired a missile into a house in South Lebanon this morning. At least six people were killed. It appears they were civilians. Most of the dead in this war between Israel and Hezbollah have been civilians. Hezbollah guerillas are hiding among the people and Israel has attacked neighborhoods where those people live. So thousands of Lebanese are running from their homes. Many have made it to Syria. Ben Gilbert reports now from that country.

BEN GILBERT: A green tent in front of the Red Crescent office shelters the refugees from the midday sun. Women in headscarves cradle small children as volunteers hand out cold drinks to the elderly.

Many of these poor Lebanese came to Syria with only the clothes on their backs and with little money. Syrians have donated food, clothes and opened up their homes to the Lebanese.

Syrian Red Crescent President Abdul Rahman Attar says the refugees will only need more help.

ABDUL RAHMAN ATTAR:“Food, milk for children, hygiene things for them, because this is long period, it will not end in 10 or 15 days.”

Syria is now bordered by two major conflicts. The country already hosts hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees.

Depending on the length of the conflict in Lebanon, the new arrivals may only put more of a strain on the social and civil services the Syrians can provide for the swelling refugee population.

In Damascus, I’m Ben Gilbert for Marketplace.

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