Saturday, March 17, 2007

Perspective: Palestinian refugees in Iraq stuck in "Catch 22"

A boy carries his brother while walking at a Palestinian refugee camp near the Iraqi-Syrian border

TANAF, Iraq, March 16 (Reuters) - Hameda Um Firas has lived most of her 70-odd years as a refugee -- now she is stranded in a tent again at Iraq's border with Syria where hundreds of Palestinians have fled to escape violence in Baghdad.

"We escaped in fear of our lives. My granddaughter was decapitated by a missile attack and our sons were killed, we fled Iraq to spare our lives," she said, barely able to contain tears of anger at Arab countries she said should be helping.

"We are living in a miserable state in this camp," she said as children played in dusty lanes between white tents with clothes hanging to dry on the guy ropes.

A 25-year-old who gave only his first name, Alaa, fled to the camp at the Tanaf border crossing after gunmen killed one of his brothers. "All my family are separated now, I know nothing about my brothers and where they are," he said.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet