The Electronic Intifada / February 22, 2021
Since the start of the civil war in Syria, millions have fled their country in the hopes of finding a safer place to live.
Most have ended up in neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and hundreds of thousands have reached European countries as well.
This exodus includes an estimated 120,000 of the more than half million Palestinian refugees living in Syria.
At least 1,000 refugees from Syria have ended up in the besieged Gaza Strip.
“We were happy before the war, we had money and a house,” Rasha Abazid told The Electronic Intifada. “But when the war broke out, we came to Gaza.”
Abazid, 36, hails from the Syrian city of Daraa. Her husband, Abd al-Samad al-Dibari is of Palestinian origin, but he was born in Syria and lived his whole life there. The family arrived in Gaza in 2012.
“We came to the Gaza Strip, but unfortunately we received no care. We were not provided with housing or work, or any of life’s necessities,” al-Dibari, 42, told The Electronic Intifada.
The father of six hopes he can provide a stable home for his family, but cannot see the prospects of that without a stable job.
In Gaza, stability is increasingly becoming an impossibility.
The coastal enclave has been under a devastating Israeli siege for over 13 years.
Gaza has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. More than half of its two million residents live below the poverty line, as noted in a recent report by the UN economic group UNCTAD.
“Gaza’s own residents can hardly get by. So what about foreigners who don’t know anyone here?” Yousef Ghanayim, another Syrian refugee, told The Electronic Intifada.
Ghanayim, 48, arrived in Gaza in February 2013. He later travelled to Egypt, where he was jailed for a month as his passport was expired. He returned to Gaza after being released and has lived there ever since.
There are currently 165 Syrian families living in Gaza, according to Muhammad Abu Shawish, the director of Syrian affairs in Gaza.
Video by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Ltefa.