One man who lived in the camp with his family told us about the terrible tragedies he had experienced while still living in Syria. The first story was about his elderly mother near the beginning of the conflict in Syria. He said that Assad’s regime had come into his village and ordered everyone out, telling people that if they stayed they would be killed. Many elders in the village had gotten together and decided to take a stand. They didn’t want to leave, so they told the regime that their families had lived there for generations and that they were not going to be forced from their homes. The man told us that he pleaded with his mother to leave the village with him. He warned her that these men were not messing around and that it would be certain death if she chose to stay. Sadly, their house was set on fire and he was unable to save his mother while she burned to death on the same piece of land that their family had lived on for hundreds of years.
We met others in the camp whose husbands were either locked away in Syrian jail (they hoped) or who had died fighting in the war. The children all seemed a bit shell-shocked, but for the most part they were just kids trying to be, well, just kids.
URDA is now managing 40 shelter sites all over Lebanon. The next ones we would be visiting would be in the Bekaa Valley.