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Middle east

Syrian refugees ‘living in fear in Egypt’

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-17

Once welcomed as war refugees, Syrians exiled in Egypt are now under threat for alleged ties to the recently-deposed Muslim Brotherhood. FRANCE 24 looked into anti-Syrian discrimination and was confronted with first-hand experience of the trend.

Attitudes toward Syrian refugees are changing in Egypt in the wake of a coup in July that saw the Muslim Brotherhood ejected from power. Once welcomed as exiles fleeing a civil war, many Syrians now live in fear in their adopted country.

Abu Mahmoud, a Syrian refugee living in the “October 6” housing estate some 45 minutes from Cairo, told FRANCE 24 that his children were regularly beaten by other kids and his wife feared being kidnapped. They were “prisoners in their own home,” Mahmoud lamented.

Mohammed Saleh, an activist with the Aazer humanitarian NGO, said Egyptians were wrongly accusing Syrians of supporting Egypt’s deposed Muslim Brotherhood. He said the media was drumming up nationalism and anti-Syrian hysteria. “It's becoming unsafe, unfortunately, for Syrians to live in Egypt,” he told FRANCE 24.

While conducting its video report, Egyptian residents of the “October 6” housing estate interrupted filming, accusing Saleh of wanting to ruin Egypt’s international image and warning Mahmoud to stay indoors.

Mahmoud said many fellow Syrians, feeling persecuted, were heading back to their war-torn homeland, while others had decided to try to reach Europe.

Watch the full FRANCE 24 report on Syrian refugees by clicking in the player above.

Date created : 2013-09-17

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