Mazen Abdelkarim El-Hassan, 25 years old

I come from the countryside of al-Quassayr, to be precise from a village called al-Burhaniya. I arrived to Lebanon in May 2013. My wife was pregnant and our oldest child was little when the shelling got stronger. I was so worried about them therefore I asked my wife to leave to Lebanon without me. I had a place that sells chicken and I was not planning to leave it behind. She agreed and left. A while later the bombings intensified in our village. One day I was in the store (that is about 1.5km away from my house), there were bombings, and I knew that the strike was on our neighborhood. I could not go to check what had happened; I had to leave immediately. I went with a group of people. We headed to al-Quassayr where I stayed for about 5 days. Afterwards I went through the farms to al-Husseiniya, and then from Qara to Arsal in a big truck full of women and stayed there about 2 hours. We spent 11 days sleeping in the fields before we were able to go from al-Quassayr to al-Husseiniya. The way from al-Quassayr to al-Husseiniya took 3 hours. Three more days passed before we could wash up and bathe in a mosque in Qara. Then the Red Cross distributed sandwiches and milk for the children. Finally from Arsal I went to Baalbak, and I saw my son who was 4 months old. I had never seen him before! He was born in Lebanon, and I have another boy as well. I wished I had brought my papers, our clothes, our pictures, and an old golden ring that belonged to my family. Unfortunately, I did not bring anything.

My parents are in Jordan and I have not seen them in 3 years. My mother had to take my brother and run away with him because he did not have any identification papers. I cannot go to see them because I do not have papers either. I cannot even go back to Syria now. Even if I did have an ID people are being arrested on checkpoints depending on where they are coming from. My uncle was going to Hama when he was stopped and taken away. We have not heard from him since. My brother tells me that the situation in Jordan is good to a certain degree; at least work he can. Here in Lebanon I can barely find work and when I do it is for a pay that would barely allow me to bring food to my family and pay for the rent for the plot of land we planted our tent on. I have to deprive my children of a lot of things and borrow money. I do anything that comes my way just to pay basic bills. We take any job that comes our way… pouring concrete, carrying sand and farming for 6000 Lebanese Pounds a day. I was caught at a checkpoint and arrested for a month. They let me go when I paid 500.000 Lebanese Pounds and now I am afraid to move around at all…