Out of hell, into limbo: the plight of Syrian refugees in France

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By Anne Devineaux
Out of hell, into limbo: the plight of Syrian refugees in France

Like so many of his compatriots Syrian refugee Sohaib al Raies risked everything for peace and security in the West. The 37-year-old computer graduate fled the bombardments of his home town near Damascus with his parents. A torturous journey through several countries culminated in an almost fatal crossing of the Mediterranean in an overcrowded, unseaworthy boat.

You have to depend on yourself here in France, and if you don't know anyone you will sleep in the street

Sohaib ended up in Lyon, grateful to have survived the voyage and thankful to France for having accepted him as refugee. But his problems and his journey are far from over.

In this edition of Reporter Anne Devineaux discovers the challenges refugees like Sohaib face in establishing themselves as fully integrated members of French society. Once given asylum they find themselves in an administrative and social no-mans-land in a host state that doesn’t seem to know how to cope with them.

The situation is all the more alarming as the EU pushes ahead with proposals for a refugee quota system for member states. Countries like France may sign up to taking in more desperate people from Syria, but what will they do with them?

They have survived the journey from hell only to end up in limbo.

Click on the video to find out more about Sohaib’s story