Syrian Refugees Call for Protection

The border separating Syria from Lebanon has long been accessible for smugglers crossing from one side to the other. Now, with the eruption of the uprising in Syria, the Lebanese border town of Wadi Khaled has become a refuge for thousands of Syrians who have fled the violence and bloodshed in their home country. But despite having escaped, many complain that they are still not safe from the Syrian authorities who operate in Lebanon. Mohammed Kizle, a refugee from Homs said, "We are calling on the Lebanese government to protect us, we can't leave this place. There are a lot of people here in Wadi Khaled who support the Syrian regime. They kidnapped two men from here and handed them over to the Shabiha gangs and the Shabiha handed them over to the Syrian security forces. We can't leave this building, we can't work, we can't do anything, we are afraid to go and fetch water because of the kidnappings." The United Nations says 2,700 people have been killed and thousands more imprisoned since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began six months ago. After reports of killings in Homs this month there was a sharp hike in the number of refugees which could grow into a refugee crisis if numbers continue to increase at the present rate. Nearly 4,000 displaced Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations refugee agency in north Lebanon, but the refugees say their numbers are closer to 6,000 and that not all have registered. Many are living with Lebanese families with whom they often have family and friendship ties. Since people started fleeing, the number of Syrian border guards has grown and there are reports that they are indiscriminately shooting refugees illegally crossing the border. Speaker: Mohammed Kizle, a refugee from Homs Voice: Mustapha Ajbaili By: Ikram Al Yacoub Al Arabiya With Agencies

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