News: Syria’s border closure hits Iraqi refugees

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From Reuters:

“SAIDA ZEINAB, Syria, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Suffering kidney disease and living in a Damascus slum, Amal Jabar lost her only means of support when Syria closed its borders to Iraqi refugees a few weeks ago.

“My son Mostafa used to come and bring me whatever little he scraped together from odd jobs in Baghdad. I would be starving now if it wasn’t for charity,” said Jabar, who fled from the al-Amel district in Baghdad, a focus of sectarian fighting.

“The area is swamped with militias and Mostafa’s life is in danger. He was planning to move to Syria, but now he cannot and I haven’t heard from him,” she said.

Syria’s decision on Oct. 1 to shut its borders to Iraqi nationals, except merchants and academics, has disrupted lives of refugees, separated families and trapped thousands amid killings and upheaval, according to refugees and aid agencies.

With an estimated 1.4-2 million refugees constituting up to 10 percent of Syria’s population, the government said it could no longer absorb more Iraqis, although thousands were crossing the border every day.”…

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