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Bringing it Home

13 January 2013

It is reported that over 60,000 Syrians have been killed in the civil uprising in Syria. Daily, we read sad stories about mans’ inhumanity to man, to the point where we become de-sensitised in some degree to these events.

However, yesterday’s story brought it home to me on reading the item about one man, Hussein Hmdoum, who managed to escape the horrors of the war and somehow ended up here in North Cyprus.

He found a labouring job in the south and by crossing the border to and fro illegally managed to survive. When personal events caught up with him – he heard had news that his father and sisters had been killed, he attempted suicide by jumping off the building that he was working on. Hussein survived this with a broken leg. Later on, while he was attempting to leave North Cyprus for Turkey, having heard that his wife and two children had escaped there, he was arrested at Ercan airport for crossing the military border illegally. The judge expressed his sympathy; however, I imagine he will end up being deported to Turkey. Turkey is host to over 100,000 Syrian refugees. There are no exact numbers as some sneak across the border into Turkey as they don’t want to end up in Turkish refugee camps.

Similarly in early October last year, 35 Syrian refugees, including women and children were picked up off North Cyprus shores, and pretty smartly deported to Turkey from Famagusta.

It can be argued that the TRNC cannot support refugees, given its own shambolic internal structure, political in-fighting and general ineptitude. The officials argued that by keeping the refugees here on TRNC soil would encourage trafficking. Further, one might add that given that the north, officially, does not exist, any international obligations to help refugees it might otherwise have, do not have to be upheld.

I wonder what will happen to Hussein?

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