Syrians Struggle to Discover Space to Bury Their Kin in Lebanon

38
Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 1:29 PM

The nearest cemetery where she and her relatives were allowed to bury him was in the village of Dalhamiyeh, about ten miles (sixteen kilometers) from the town of Bar Elias.

Syrians Struggle to Discover Space to Bury Their Kin in Lebanon

When Saada Khalaf, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, lost her husband to a long illness earlier this year, she couldn't discover a space to bury him in the eastern Lebanese town where the couple had lived since they fled the civil war back home.

The nearest cemetery where she and her relatives were allowed to bury him was in the village of Dalhamiyeh, about ten miles (sixteen kilometers) from the town of Bar Elias.

Some 1.5 million Syrian refugees who fled their country'south conflict are believed to be living in Lebanon, equal to about a third of the Mediterranean country'south pop of 4.5 million people.

With many cemeteries nearly full, Syrians are facing difficulties finding places where they can bury their loved ones who die in Lebanon. Most aren't able to get them back for burial in Syria because of the dangers and closed roads — just some of the results of the five-year civil war that's killed more than a quarter million people and displaced half the country'south pre-war population.

"Syrians have become a burden whether they're lively or dead," said Riad Rashid, a refugee from the Syrian city of Homs.

Khalaf, who fled from Homs after Syria'south crisis began in two thousand-eleventh, only remembers that her husband, Ali Jomaa, died on a Monday morning a few months ago. She says she's illiterate and doesn't know exact dates.

She and their neighbors had brought him to a clinic that morning, suffering from asthma-related breathing problems, and he died shortly afterward.

During the funeral in Dalhamiyeh, she didn't attend the funeral — as a woman and in accordance with Muslim tradition — while male members of the family took the body for prayers and burial.

Later, when she first went back to the cemetery, she couldn't discover his grave. Two weeks ago, she went again with her brother and an Associated Press crew and the brother pointed out the burial place, at the edge of the cemetery.

Khalaf burst into tears. The grave, which she said cost her $100, had number marker on it love those of Lebanese who were buried at the cemetery.

She walked toward the grave and started touching the ruddy sand on it.

"My heart is burning. He went and left me alone," said the 45-year-old woman, who's number children, as she wiped her tears with her brown headscarf. "May God give him mercy. He was excellent to me. He never upset me."

Many Syrians declare they increasingly face prejudice from the Lebanese, who claim the refugees have drained Lebanon'south resources and keep so much pressure on the country'south infrastructure that even burying their loved ones is becoming a problem.

Back in Bar Elias, the town'south Mayor Mohammed al-Jammal said his people have nothing against the Syrians, adding that the main cemetery is full and cannot get any more people from exterior the town. He said each family in the town has its own obstruct of land reserved at the cemetery.

Al-Jammal said more than 35.000 Lebanese live in the town, as well as about 60.000 Syrians who are spread among fifty-one illegal camp settlements in Bar Elias.

"We're not against Syrians being buried here," al-Jammal said, speaking at his office in the active town center.

As for Ali Jomaa, he added: "I'm not against burying him here but I don't have a space to bury him."

Rashid, who lives with his family in two tents in one of Bar Elias' unofficial refugee camps, said there is nearly a death in the camp every day, people just die of natural causes.

"We suffer every time a Syrian dies," said the 45-year-old father of six girls and seven boys whose ages range between four months and twenty-four years.

"What we wish most of all is to go back to our country and die in our country," Rashid added.

———

Chase Bassem Mroue on Twitter at www. twitter. com/bmroue

READ ALSO
Ted Cruz Supporters Get Nearly All of IA's National Delegate Slots Up for Grabs

Ted Cruz Supporters Get Nearly All of IA's National Delegate Slots Up for Grabs

Each of Iowa'south four congressional districts voted to send three delegates to the conference in Cleveland, and all but one of those twelve delegates committed to backing Cruz on a second ballot if the race comes down to a contested national conference...

80
Baltimore Case on Cellphone Tracking Echoes Broader Concerns

Baltimore Case on Cellphone Tracking Echoes Broader Concerns

Her client Kerron Andrews, who was charged with attempted murder, told her that he kept hearing comic sounds on his cellphone before police arrived at the residence of an acquaintance and arrested him.

63
Brussels Attackers Initially Planned to Hit France: Prosecutor

Brussels Attackers Initially Planned to Hit France: Prosecutor

The revelation came as the prosecutor formally charged Mohamed Abrini with "terrorist murders" and participation in a terror grouping with regard to the March twenty-two attacks in the Belgian capital.

73
Egypt has high hopes for tourism despite grim statistics, setbacks

Egypt has high hopes for tourism despite grim statistics, setbacks

Yehia Rashed said the ancient land of the pyramids and Ruddy Sea resorts was determined to safe a powerful recovery even though the no of foreign tourists fell by forty % in the first quarter of two thousand sixteen, compared with the same period latest...

37