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Iraqi Refugees at Work in Damascus
Alive in Baghdad's Rare Look at the Struggle to Survive in the Syrian Economy
12/19/2007 5:41 PM ET

Alive in Baghdad files its first dispatch since the death of its correspondent Ali Shafeya, who was apparently shot 31 times Friday evening in Baghdad in a raid on his home by Iraqi forces. This week, Alive in Baghdad correspondent Hayder Fahad files from Damascus with a rare look at the lives of Iraqi refugees living in the Syrian capital, who describe their daily struggles in the Syrian economy to support themselves and their families.

The video journal introduces this week's segment as follows:

Damascus, Syria - Although there are many reports of Iraqis returning to Baghdad, there are still hundreds of thousands of refugees and resident Iraqis struggling to get by in Syria. This week Hayder Fahad brings you some of their stories.

There are so many refugees still in Syria, that the UNHCR has just begun distributing financial aid to refugees as of Sunday the 16th. Alive in Baghdad has written stories previously about Iraqi refugees in Syria, this week we focus not on the reasons why they have left, but how they get by. It is illegal for Iraqis to work in Syria, but the underground economy of Iraqi workers is thriving.

Despite this, many Iraqis are still without work, and many more cannot afford to pay their bills even with the small incomes they do make. Iraqis are filling some of the traditionally least desired jobs, particularly that of janitors, and others are forced to engage in sexwork and prostitution. Many Iraqis are choosing to remain in a desperate state in Syria, despite reports from Baghdad that unemployment is down and refugees are returning.


Alive in Baghdad correspondents such as Hayder Fahad will continue to bring stories of daily life in Baghdad, as well as the difficulties of Iraqis living in surrounding countries. Please consider making a donation to support Ali’s family, as well as becoming a paying subscriber or making a donation to Alive in Baghdad to support our Iraqi staff who continue to work under these difficult circumstances.

For all of IraqSlogger's coverage of refugee issues, click here.


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