Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in Syria have been uprooted since the violent government crackdown on the uprising and the ensuing battles that ensnared their communities. For around 50,000 of them, Lebanon was their only safe route out but now it seems this door is being closed on them.
People with long beards and dressed like Afghans broke into our neighbourhood after they had bombed it. We were lucky to escape from that nightmare,” Aum Ahmad, a46-year-old woman from Mosul – 400 km northwest of Baghdad – told IPS from the recently set up Khazar refugee camp, 25 km east of the besieged city.
Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their home country have come up against a less than accommodating “Fortress Europe”.
Abdul Karim arrived in Cameroon’s eastern border town of Garoua-Boula from Central African Republic’s Yaloke district at the end of February as part the largest influx of refugees into Cameroon.
Swiss voters have approved an initiative by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) aimed at limiting immigration. The result not only threatens the free movement of people, but all agreements between Switzerland and the European Union.
As the temperature dips to zero degrees Celsius, a chill has set into the lives of people like 44-year-old Rasool Khan at the Jalozai camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pakistan. Huddled in tiny tents, with just a plastic sheet over their heads and no heat, they pass sleepless nights in the bitter cold.
Seventeen-year-old Usmanullah Shah has never been to Afghanistan, the land of his forefathers. The son of Afghan parents who fled to Pakistan 34 years ago to escape war, he shudders at the thought of going there.
Amani has just turned 22. Two months ago she fled from the civil war in Syria and left her house in capital Damascus. After a dangerous nightlong trip she arrived at Zaatari, the refugee camp just over the border in Jordan, where her parents and two sisters had already lived for over a year.
Mahmoud Abu Yousef, 28, sits in one of the suburban subway stations of Egyptian capital Cairo selling socks. He had fled Syria with his wife and one-year-old child this February after his parents and three brothers were killed in the civil war that has been raging in his country since March 2011.
Acute food shortages have reached desperate levels in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. Leading religious figures in the camps have issued a fatwa permitting the killing and consumption of cats, dogs, mice, rats and donkeys.
This week the Islamic world marks one of its holiest holidays, Eid al-Adha - honouring Ibrahim’s commitment to sacrifice his first-born son to Allah. The festival involves large family gatherings, bountiful lunches and generous gift giving.
Refugee rights organisations are demanding an EU-wide temporary protection regime for Syrian refugees. The announcement by some countries that they can take a few thousand refugees is not enough, the groups say.
With Lebanon fraying at the seams under pressure from the neighbouring Syria conflict and the economy stuttering amid a political vacuum, more and more children are being pushed into labour.
Struggling to accommodate all its asylum seekers, Swiss authorities have turned to unused army quarters. Some of these lie on mountain passes, far away from inhabited areas.
Malian widow Mariama Sow, 30, and her three children are trying to find some semblance of normalcy in their lives in Dakar, Senegal, since they left the historic city of Timbuktu in northern Mali last June to escape the Islamist occupation.
“We need a solution. The U.N. has created the problem, and they should do their work and fix it,” says Bright, a young Nigerian stuck in the Choucha refugee camp in Tunisia, a few kilometres from the Libyan border.
The influx of hundreds of thousands of war-weary refugees from Syria to Lebanon is putting an almost unbearable strain on many of the communities that have taken them into their homes. A domestic economic crisis compounded by the arrival of such large numbers of refugees is weighing heavily on many impoverished areas.
Fatimata Wallet Haibala sits among a group of women and teenage girls under a tent, her handicapped boy on her lap. The scene could be a rural picture of a Tuareg gathering in the desert. But the mother mother of five resides in a refugee camp in Goudebo, Burkina Faso, almost 100 kilometres from their home in Mali.
Zuhur al-Khalaf is eight months pregnant and lives in a one-room shack in northern Lebanon with her husband and five children. The cloth walls and cardboard roof have become sodden and musty after heavy storms this past week, and two of the children are suffering from fevers and chest infections.
More than a million people displaced from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas by growing militancy and military operations are facing severe hardship after losing businesses and work.
No other camp for Syrians match the size of Za’atari. Equal rows of tents marked with the UNHCR logo spread to the horizon, dotted with lanterns and water tanks. Only a handful of people remain in sight, mostly on their way to or from the bathrooms.