Flood of Syrian refugees into Algeria continues
Syrian refugees have continued their flood into the nearby nation of Algeria. Now facing even worse persecution at the hands of the Islamic State, Syrians have come to rely on the compassion and warmth of the Algerian people - whose hospitality may have reached their limits.
Syrians have come to rely on the compassion and warmth of the Algerian people - whose hospitality may have reached their limits.
ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - Since last year, the number of Syrian refugees living in Algeria has increased to include 15,000 expatriates. Spread across different provinces of the nation, local authorities have taken notice of these refugees who are now enjoying better living conditions than they did in their own country.
A reception center was established here in 2012. Food, shelter and even a recreation program was created for the refugees.
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The crises in North Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East led to many migrants to seek refuge in Algeria, mainly in the big cities of the north.
For still other Syrian refugees, many have been forced to live on the street and panhandle for money. Throughout Algiers, very young children beg in the streets. Still others who have fled the régime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have taken refuge in the Port Said Square in the Algerian capital. The situation there has become more and more difficult.
Even more worrying is that their number is growing, their means of support dwindling by the day. "Here in Algeria, people sympathize with us and we are deeply grateful. A real misfortune has befallen on our country in the wake of the events of the Arab Spring. We were subjected to heavy shelling by forces loyal to the incumbent president Al Assad and our only alternative was to flee Syria towards a better and suitable place for the safety of our families," one Syrian refugee from the region of Homs says.
For some Syrian refugees, many have been forced to live on the street and panhandle for money.
More than 3,000 kilometers was the distance needed to travel to reach this North African oil rich country. A plane ticket to travel to Algeria was preferable to taking shelter in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Syrians fleeing their homeland would have allocated a minimum of 600 Euros for the plane ticket, which equates to a total of 272,000 dinars for a family of four members.
The crises in North Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East led to many migrants to seek refuge in Algeria, mainly in the big cities of the north. All Algerians have in mind the images of Syrian families settled in Port Said Square in summer 2012 at the arrival of the first waves of refugees.
All Algerians have in mind the images of Syrian families settled in Port Said Square in summer 2012 at the arrival of the first waves of refugees.
"During the first months of our stay we did not take long to adapt ourselves to the traditions of Algerians that look well to ours. We have a lot of things to share with our Algerian brothers. We have Islam and the Arabic language that are likely to facilitate contact.
"At the current time, and due to what is happening in the region of Sahel, Sahelian people followed us in our search for refuge. As these refugees come by thousands, our situation becomes more and more complicated, a 46-year-old refugee named Farouk says.
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