Zgaab is a father of 10 from Raqqa. He recently shared the experiences he and his family faced when fleeing Syria to Lebanon when an IFRC and Lebanese Red Cross team visited the camp where the family live in Zahle, Lebanon.
“When the militias took our family’s house two and a half years ago, we had to leave. We could only take the clothes we were wearing, our identity documents and school certificates. Each of our ten daughters was allowed to take one personal item, we could not carry more with us.
“The smugglers took us to Damascus in a truckload of sheep. We hid the certificates under our clothes because we were worried that they might be taken from us if someone stopped us. Two of our daughters were kidnapped on the way and we had to pay to get them back with us.
“In Syria, we received assistance from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Here in Lebanon, the Lebanese Red Cross has helped us by providing us food parcels. It has been a great help since we do not have enough income to feed our 10 daughters, my wife and myself. We cannot even afford to buy clothes.
“It makes me sad to think of the life we had in Syria before the crisis, and the opportunities my daughters had. My wife and I had good jobs and our eldest daughter graduated from the university. Now our daughters don’t go to school anymore. They are too far behind, and we need all the income we can get. The eldest of them work in the fields or collect firewood.
“My wife has problems with her back and she cannot work anymore. I am too old to work in the construction sites or fields.
“We never thought that something like this would happen in Syria. If only we could, we would go back home. But everything has been destroyed in Raqqa. The most important thing now is that we are all together.”