Photo:Ain el-Helweh in Saida is the largest camp hosting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Lebanon 2013 © Aurelie Lachant/MSF.

From Damascus to Ain el-Helweh: Palestinians in Syria Flee to Lebanon

“I’m deeply sad inside, but I need to appear strong in front of my family,” says a man called Mahmood while sitting in the narrow room he now shares with his wife and six-year-old son in the Ain el-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon. Until almost two months ago, he’d been living in another camp for Palestinians, this one in Damascus, but the conflict in Syria had made it impossible to stay.

“It’s very difficult,” he says. “Seven of my relatives were killed by the bombings and shootings in Syria. We saw their mutilated bodies. I buried them myself and buried my neighbors too. My son disappeared. One month later, my brother disappeared. I’m sure they got killed and this is causing me a lot of sadness.”