Stories: Syria

  • Sex education offers Syrian women the chance of a better life

    Sitting cross-legged around the edge of the bright and airy living room in an old Turkish stone house, the group of assembled women is transfixed. Ghazwa al-Milaji is making elaborate hand gestures. “You have two ovaries,” she says, twiddling her two hands mid-air. “And two fallopian tubes,” she adds, drawing arcs. Then she cups her palms...

  • Women and war: facing into the danger zones

    On the third Wednesday of March last year, eight people were laid to rest at the Yeşilkent cemetery in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. Each burial was careful recorded, with the name of the deceased, their age, their parents’ names and the date of their death. Seven people were listed that way. But one entry said simply: woman,...

  • Meet the Syrian refugee girls facing child marriage in Turkey

    Dalal Abdullah is just 13, but her mother has already had to fend off a string of requests for her hand in marriage. A rich Syrian who knew the family back in Aleppo whence they fled four years ago, came and offered 20,000 Turkish lira for the pretty young teenager. A wealthy Turk offered 30,000 lira — enough to pay the rent on...

  • A day on the factory floor for a young refugee

    At 6am, seven-year-old Mohammed Nour Abdullah sets out for work. He walks past a park, along a busy road, turns down a side street and slips through a pink doorway. Inside is a workshop the size of a large classroom. All day long it buzzes with the whirr and thrum of machinery and the tinny sound of pop music played...

  • An uneasy coexistence in the Mauritanian desert

    Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania - It is often difficult to know where the sprawling Mbera refugee camp ends, and the desolate, desert communities of southeastern Mauritania begin. Both spring up almost unexpectedly from the mounds of orange sand and shrubs: tents made from tarps fastened to curved tree branches, animal pens, and the odd mud-brick, tin or aluminium structure. ...

  • Syrian refugees in Mauritania dream of resettlement

    NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – Mohamad Mudar Oulabie knows he doesn't have many choices. But after almost five years in Mauritania, an impoverished and isolated country on the coast of West Africa, the 52-year-old father of four is becoming increasingly frustrated. Today, making an irregular crossing to Europe, despite numerous dangers, is on his mind. "That's the last resort," Oulabie...

  • Syrian Exodus: Health, Help, Hypocrisy

    Trigger warning: This feature contains links to reports on and testimonies of sexual violence. A humanitarian crisis has many layers and many consequences. Each violent rupture aggravates the inequalities that existed there before, creating new divisions which tear societies apart and cause trauma which affects the generations that follow. Each new phase of civil war drains essential resources and weakens...