Between Jordan and Syria, Abu Zein struggles to care for family

18 March 2013

8 March 2013

Abu Zein* is a Palestinian who lived until recently with his wife and five children in Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria. Despite escalating violence, the family was reluctant to leave their home, family and friends behind, and uncertain about finding a place of refuge. But motivated by fear for the life and safety of their children, they felt they had no choice.

In October, Abu Zein’s wife, who is part Syrian, was able to flee to Jordan and stay with her sister and aunts in Madaba, south of Amman. Abu Zein and the children (without Syrian passports) followed her to Jordan one month later. But instead of being reunited with their mother, Abu Zein’s children and their father were placed in the King Abdullah Park transit facility in Ramtha, north-west Jordan. On 14 January 2013, the family was transferred to Cyber City, another government-appointed facility in Jordan.

 See more photos here.

In Cyber City, Abu Zein does his best to care for his five children as a single parent; the eldest 19 years old, and the youngest only three. Despite help from his older children, Abu Zein is struggling with the difficult situation.

The children’s mother is only allowed to visit the camp once a month. The first time, she was granted a meagre two-hour visit. Now, Abu Zein says, his younger children cry when they hear her voice over the phone.

Abu Zein, a loving husband and father, feels families should be together during hard times. He believes children should not be separated from their parents, and civilians like him who have escaped abuse should be protected, not detained.

While grateful to be safe from the violence in Syria, he says, "living here is like seeing all fog in front of you.

“Not a single ray of light."

UNRWA has urged the Government of Jordan to uphold the principles of equal treatment of refugees. Read more

*Name has been changed to protect identity

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