Selim and Leila were farmers in Dera'a, southwest Syria, until the day their village was shelled by government forces and they decided to leave the country.
This entailed a terrifying nighttime journey on foot through government-held territory, escorted by the Free Syrian Army. To keep the children quiet and avoid detection, they gave them sleeping pills. Many of their relatives are still stuck in Syria. Selim, Leila and their eight children now live in Za'atari, a sprawling tented camp in Jordan, just 15 kilometers from the Syrian border, which is home to more than 110,000 refugees.
Their story is the subject of this IRIN series, "Where the War Still Echoes," which follows the family over the course of a year, from their arrival in December 2012. The series provides an intimate view of their struggles to adjust to camp life and the traumatic effects of the conflict back home, as well as the pressure felt by Selim to return and join the rebellion.
Syria's refugees: an overview
Episode 1, December 2012
Leila, Selim, their eight children and niece Fatma have just arrived at Za’atari camp, in Jordan, after fleeing the shelling of their village in Syria. More than 30 people from their extended family now live in Za’atari, including Selim’s mother. All are trying to adjust to their new life in the camp.
Episode 2, March 2013
Za’atari has tripled in size since December 2012. Leila and Selim’s children stopped going to school after the camp was flooded in January. Leila is about to give birth to her ninth child. Selim and his male friends feel idle and powerless as the conflict in Syria rages on.
Episode 3, June 2013
The heat in Za’atari is unbearable during summer. Water is scarce. With a new-born baby, and another eight kids to take care of, the family is struggling.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions