Ahmed dreams of returning to Syria

Niklas Saxén
At the moment Ahmed is a volunteer in the Red Cross hospital in the Azraq refugee camp.
Image: Niklas Saxén

More than four million Syrians have been forced to flee to the neighbouring countries. Red Cross volunteer Ahmed is one of them.

The conflict in Syria
  • The conflict in Syria continues for the fifth year and more than 12 million Syrians are in a need of urgent help.

  • You can support the work of the Red Cross by donating to the Disaster Relief Fund online or donating to the bank account: Nordea FI06 2219 1800 0680 00, write "Syria" in the message area

My name is Ahmed. I am 42 years old and I come from Dar’a, Syria. Today I am a refugee in Azraq refugee camp, in Jordan.

I was living in the city of Dar’a. It is truly a beautiful place: there is a lot of water with a river running through the city, the people are nice, and even the trade is good. I used to own a supermarket, and I also worked as an electrician. Water is everything, it is life. Also, it was something to have your family, your cousins living in the same place. When I think about Dar’aa, I think about my home. A home is not just stones, but it is the story about my life.

One day a soldier came to my supermarket. He said that he had information that I wanted. I had to pay him, and he helped himself to what he wanted in the supermarket. He listed names of many people who were going to be arrested. As you can guess, my name was one of them. If you’re arrested, you don’t know what will happen to you, will you live or will you die. Nobody knows. Many of my friends and one of my cousins have died.

So I fled. On the spot; I did not even go home.  My wife joined me an hour later, and so did my brother who was also on the list. We fled to another area in Syria. We lived there for 4 months with my wife. But we wanted a child and for us it was difficult. We needed medical treatment as we were unable to have a child. So I decided we should go to Jordan. We walked for 20 hours to get to the border; it was a long way.

Living in the Azraq refugee camp

We arrived here in Azraq refugee camp with my wife, a little over a year ago. That is when the camp was opened. We were among the first refugees here. Compared to home, this place is in the middle of the desert, there is very little here. When you live in Azraq, you have no choice. There are no options and everything has already been decided for you. I have tried to get permission for us to go to Amman, where my wife could be treated so we could have a child, but it has not been possible. So I think, if it continues like this, we will have to go back to Syria.

In Dar’a the soldiers have taken my supermarket, my car, my home. All my family has fled Syria. My brother is in Lebanon, I talk with him from time to time. I don’t know what the conditions are like there – he always just says everything is ok.

Here in the camp I do voluntary work at the Red Cross Red Crescent Hospital, assisting patients. I think this is the best place in the camp, to be honest – it is cool and clean inside, the work is not too hard, the people are very good and there is a spirit of humanity.