“Many of them don’t want to go too far from their villages, because they’re farmers who can’t afford to abandon their cattle”
Today [Monday], I travelled to places where displaced people had relocated after fleeing from their villages, which have become a battlefield between the Free Syrian army and the regime. Many of them have taken refuge in neighbouring towns and villages where there is no shelling; others that have money are on their way to Turkey to go to refugee camps there. It’s very expensive to go there – you have to pay a taxi to take you to the border. There are also quite a few people who don’t want to go too far from their villages, because they’re farmers with cattle and sheep and chicken. They’ve left their animals with as much food as they could and are waiting for a lull in the fighting to go back and check on them.“We don’t see any of the money donated by Arab states here, on the ground, where people really need it”Some of them have tents with them. I saw about ten families living in one big tent up in the mountains, which they had taken from a mosque. These tents are usually used during funerals, to shelter people who come to pay their respect to the deceased’s family. I saw others sleeping in their cars. Yet others have nothing and have to ask for help from strangers. Some of the locals who can afford it bring them food and blankets, but overall, there is very little help for these people.We keep hearing every day on the news that Arab countries are donating lots of money to the Syrian people, but we don’t see any of it here on the ground. [Editor’s Note: Some 50 nations pledged more than 100 million dollars in aid to the opposition at a December conference, but it is unclear how much has come through. Gulf states have yet to make good on a pledge made last April to create a fund to support opposition groups inside Syria. However, an exiled Syrian businessman who recently launched a fund has hinted at strong financial support from Gulf states.] Where does this money go? Personally, I think it must be used to house the opposition abroad in 5-star hotels. Here, we feel that they are not serious about letting their money get into Syria to the people who really need it.