Wadi Khaled is not the same anymore. The bustling region famous for its relatively prosperous smuggling based economy looked deserted at the point which used to be an illegal pathway between Arida and the Syria village of Tel Kalaph.
The sand barriers that the security forces placed to block the passage of people in both directions isn’t the only reason behind the calm here. More important is that the big majority of the Syrian who fled following the crackdown that pro-Syrian regime imposed in Tel Khalah, don’t want to go there.
According to the UNHCR more than 2000 people have fled from Syrian villages to the Lebanese side of the border. The majority of them have sought refuge in family houses on the Lebanese side.
The unlucky with no family ties on the Lebanese side found themselves in one of two centers that were recently opened. For over two months, 80 families counting more than two hundred seventy five people have been living in Al-Iman School in the nearby Machta Hamoud village.
Farhan Al Kurdi, has been here for over two months. He joined his wife and children after the Shabiha shot him in his leg, robbing all that he owns, including 750.000 Syrian pounds, the money he collected from selling the cab he used to drive between Tel Kalakh and Homs. His wife, Zouhour, knows nothing about her parents who live in Homs.
Hassan says he has been able to run away but both his brothers, including Mohamad who is blind, have been detained. He says he is bound to stay in the school and can’t work because he is too scared the Lebanese security forces would give him in to the Syrian authorities.
Worth noting is that a large number of Syrians have been crossing to the Lebanese side of the border where they would spend the night in safety before going back to their lands in the morning.