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One Syrian family's life in Damascus

Reporter: Xu Dezhi 丨 CCTV.com

08-04-2016 14:34 BJT

The scale of the conflict in Syria is hard to comprehend: 6.5 million internally displaced people and another 4.8 million refugees in host countries. Addressing displacement is integral in responses to the crisis. But one family in Damascus refuses to move into shelters or other facilities. 

Mohammad used to make a living by trading auto accessories in eastern rural Damascus. When war broke out in 2012, the family left their home for a mobile one.

"This is where my son sleeps . And this is for my wife and daughter. I sleep here in winter, and outside in summer. We live near the park so that we can use the toilet and water, and we can wash our clothes and take bath there," said Damascus resident Muhammad Kawader. 

Mohammad was injured when a mortar bomb hit this park in 2014. He’s out of a job, while his wife works in a shop earning 2000 Syrian pounds per week, that’s only about 4 dollars.

Life is tough, but Mohammad tries to keep his children spirited.

"We care about our children and we know what they need. They don’t feel the hardship of life, because we always ask them to play somewhere else, and try to ignore where we are living," said Mohammad.

My name is Moaeed. I often ask my friends to come and play computer games. We also play in that park. I do want to go to school and become a dentist," said Moaeed, son of Muhammad.

There are many shelters for displaced Syrians. Amenities may be basic, but it beats living in a van. Mohammad, however, thinks differently.

"We do have shelters and facilities in many places. But I think, I still own this car and we can live independently. It’s better this way than putting more pressure on the authorities," said Mohammad.

For the UN, the Syrian government and other humanitarian agencies, this on-going war has already created more than enough pressure.

"The Syrian crisis is by far the largest since World War II, the largest humanitarian crisis with 6.5 million Syrians displaced inside Syria, not to mention 4.85 million refugees living in neighboring countries and even further countries," said Firas Al-Khateeb from UNHCR Media Officer in Syria.

There are more than 1,200 shelters across the war-torn country. And more community centers are being set up. But these are not long term solutions.

"The ultimate solution is definitely a political solution. We need the international community to beware of this. The only solution for Syrian crisis is a political, peaceful solution," said Firas Al-Khateeb.

But for now, Mohammad and his family must adapt to this life in a van. He told us, it’s better to get used to it, than to worry about life every day.

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