Syria refugees in Lebanon's Wadi Khaled Valley

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Syria refugees in Lebanon's Wadi Khaled Valley

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In the past two weeks, the number of Syrian refugees arriving in the Wadi Khaled Valley in Lebanon is estimated to be around 4,000.

This brings the total number of refugees in the area close to 6,500.

Many are fleeing the violence in Homs, which has recently intensified. The beleaguered Syrian city is only about 50 kilometres from Lebanon’s Wadi Khaled Valley.

The area is also a base for the opposition Free Syrian Army and it is now a destination for deserters from the official armed forces like former soldier Abel Hakim Majid.

“I served in the presidential guard. They ordered us to shoot at people praying in the mosque. We refused to shoot and ended up fleeing here,” Majid said.

The refugees queue to collect what limited aid is available from humanitarian organisations.

Wadi Khaled’s population has increased by 10 per cent because of the influx.

Many of the Syrians are hoping and praying that one day they will be able to go home.

“With God’s help, the regime will fall and we will return with the Syrian independence flag in our hands. Bashar al-Assad is finished,” said Mohammed Abu Arheme, who had left Syria with his wife and young children.

Life is tough for the refugees because there is no state help in the form of social services, even for Lebanese citizens. Those who have fled Syria are relying on the kindness of strangers.