Yana
Syrian mother, age 25, with two young children in Greece

We lived in the city of Deir Azzor. At home there is war – rockets and planes dropping bombs. In Syria, we had no one to defend us against the fighting – no source of protection. In the evenings, we were forbidden to turn the lights on, because otherwise the military planes and helicopters above would bomb us.  Then one day the rockets hit the house where we lived. As we escaped, my father was shot in the road.
We left Syria and travelled to Turkey, where we stayed for one month and 10 days. Then we took an overcrowded boat from Bodrum, on the Turkish coast, to Kos.
When we arrived on Kos, all our clothes were wet, but we had nothing else to wear, because we had chucked our entire luggage into the sea to make more room on the boat. We took this horrific, dangerous journey because we wanted to make our children’s lives easier, safer and better. There is no future in Syria for our children.
We still have family in Syria: my mother; brother and sister are there. They couldn’t escape because they don’t have the money. It costs a lot of money to get here illegally. We paid the facilitators 3,000 euros for the four of us to make this journey. But we hope one day my mother, brother and sister can escape to be with us.
As we arrived in Kos with nothing, we have had to buy everything here for ourselves – the tent, which cost 50 euros, clothes for the children, nappies – everything we need. My daughter has spots on her face because of the dirty conditions, the rubbish all around and also the high temperatures. We will visit the doctor [at MSF’s mobile clinic] in the morning. And in the evening we will take the ferry to Athens, because we have managed to get our registration papers.
We hope to travel to Germany. We hope there we will be able to find work and a safe home. Everything we have done has been for our children. But when the war is over, I want to go back to Damascus – it is beautiful there. We have seen Turkey, we have seen Greece, we are heading to Germany, but I don’t want to stay there for ever. I want to return to my Syria. In my mind I have all my memories of life in Syria – it was the best life ever. (18 September 2015)

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