Escape Stories

The state of emergency has existed for six years in Syria. According to the UNHCR, the civil war there has already forced more than twelve million to flee from their homeland. In the hope of returning soon, many have settled near Syria, at the Jordanian border. There, Cap Anamur provides free medical treatment for the refugees in three clinics. The work in Jordan is often very distressing for our employees, because behind every escape story is a personal and tragic story. Hasim and Kamal (names changed to protect privacy) were also forced to leave their country but they have not given up hope of returning home.

Kamal has always wanted to care for and help the sick. Therefore the 27-year-old trained to be a nurse after leaving school. When the civil war broke out in Syria, Kamal was working as a nurse at the Daraa Hospital. While he and his colleagues were trying to accommodate and care for as many wounded as possible, the hospital was regularly targeted by the Syrian security forces. “Almost every day armed military stormed the hospital, beat the medical staff, made accusations against them and killed several of the patients,” Kamal recalls. Nevertheless, he tried not to take sides and to treat wounded persons regardless of their political views. However, in August 2012, Assad’s troops again stormed the hospital and captured the bulk of the medical staff, including Kamal. For more than 60 days he was detained, interrogated and tortured at an unknown place. “Several times I wished I was dead,” Kamal says. After his imprisonment, the trained nurse carried on in his profession and cared for the wounded. Again and again, he was threatened and beaten by various armed groups, since he had also been treating members of an opposing organisation in the hospital. When he then refused to join the military service, Kamal felt no longer safe in Syria. He fled across the Jordanian border, where he continues his work in refugee camps, taking care of the wounded and sick. If he were to return home, he would be arrested and forced into military service.

Hasim, 30, worked as a taxi driver in Syria. At the beginning of the civil war he took up a political stance and participated in demonstrations with chants and marches against the Syrian regime. Due to his peaceful protest Hasim was blacklisted and was intercepted and arrested as he drove his taxi through a checkpoint. He was detained and interrogated by the Security Authority in Damascus and spent 22 days in detention before returning home. But the journey home proved to be difficult, as Hasim was arrested again at the next checkpoint and put in prison for another 15 days. Then, just days after his return home, security forces surrounded his hometown of Sahem Golan. Hasim, who at the time was with some fellow activists, tried to escape from the city, but was shot several times in the left leg. Hasim fell to the ground unconscious. It was only by chance that a a nearby ambulance noticed the unconscious man and took him to hospital. And it was only through the support and care of some revolutionary friends that Hasim was able to return home after a few weeks. However, death threats and constant fear made it impossible for him to stay. Hasim fled to Jordan. He arrived with a splint on his left leg and had to be operated on again after only a few days. After the insertion of a metal plate he was referred to the Cap Anamur German Centre in Irbid for physiotherapy. Hasim not only regained his mobility in Jordan – he also took on a job in a small grocery store, married and became a father. Nevertheless, the 30-year-old hopes to return to his home country one day and live there peacefully with his little family.

Behind every escape story is a personal story. Help us to help them!