A few days ago, Maha crossed from Syria to the Wadi Khalid region on the Lebanese side of the border.
The 44 old mother of ten came from Bab Amro, where she lived all her life.
She chose to run away with her grand children, leaving behind her, a destroyed town and three of her children fighting with the free army.
“I walked a lot. We spent the whole morning walking. Two boys came up and told me there are mines and that they would accompany me. How do I stay in Bab Amro? What remains in Bab Amro? What have they left in Bab Amro? They left nothing. They ruined it all.”
Those who managed to cross through the legal border say that the Syrian authorities are forbidding families from leaving Syria and is returning them to their towns and cities after telling them that gangs and terrorist groups are killing refugees on the Lebanese side.
“The regime is trying to allow the street attacks. It doesn’t want to increase the number of refugees which will add to the scandal. The regime has embarrassed on the international stage on the issue of refugees. That’s why it wants to keep the people in the country as much as possible; this is why it tries to control the borders.”
Illegal roads between the two countries have in the past months provided a safe path for thousands of refugees who crossed to the Lebanese side, a road no longer available following the laying of anti personnel mines along the Lebanese border. Many casualities including a fatale case have been reported over the last two weeks.
“We are one of the refugees and we know that there are mines on the Syrian borders. We also heard of some injuries. The people who come here tell us that there are others who don’t have the courage to travel all the way from Syria to Lebanon due to mines and also the tightened security in general. Since September the Syrian army has deployed on its border with Lebanon increased security measures, whether using mines or more troops. All these factors have affected the flow of Syrian refugees to Lebanon.”
International organizations criticized the Syrian move saying that the use of landmines in unjustifiable naywhere and for any reason.