My name is Barbara (name changed for privacy). I live with my family – me, my 6 year old daughter, my mother, and my brother and sister both in their 30s. We used to live in Syria as Palestinian Refugees and are now residing in Cairo, Egypt. Our area in Damascus was one of the first to see heavy fighting. We had to stay for one week under these battles unable to get any food supplies or see what is going on in the area. The land lines & mobile network were disconnected, there was no electricity and we were isolated from the whole world. We were fasting in Ramadan unable to understand what was going on, terrified. My daughter stopped eating; she was crying most of the time, and started screaming once any shot hit the window. We tried to hide under the dining room table, sometimes hiding in the bathroom when we heard the military helicopter shooting on top of the building. We were scared each moment was like the last moment of our lives, from my six years old daughter to my parents. There was huge damage in both people dead and in property destroyed. My father was injured in an attack in September 2012 in our area and a mortar bomb hit our house. Thankfully none of us were killed. We sent him to stay with my married sister. We have not seen them since. We moved to my uncle’s house but every day involved battles with snipers on the roof of our building. My daughter started to become almost crazy out of fear from the sounds and the sights around us, especially with bombs dropping every two minutes from helicopters. We were awake for several nights trying to time a safe leaving. We then moved to another area which was considered safe with a relative. Unfortunately there we were threatened and abused also. Rape and Kidnapping became common place. So we decided to try and leave Syria.
We found no solution but to flee to Egypt. We arrived in Cairo after a long and dangerous trip to reach Damascus airport. We tried to gain status with the UNHCR here in Egypt but were rejected on the technicality of us having a P-l-stinian background. Then a media campaign started against Syrians & Palestinians here and we are now subject to mistreatment from many Egyptians. Some are teasing us because we are Muslims ladies, but unveiled. We are only allowed to stay here until December. Then where can we go? There is no way to go back to P-l-stine as we are not allowed in by either the P-l-stinian Authority or the Isr–li Government, as we have held a refugee travel documents from Syria since we were born. We are bearing the burden of many generations now. What did we do to stay stateless since we were born, feeling rejected from all countries? We feel like we are prisoners in the world. We are human beings looking to gain our simple right to live a normal life. We have been tortured for no crime. The situation in Egypt is not safe at all, there is no future here; we don’t know which door to knock as we are an educated decent family looking forward to live a safe, good and respected life. We just want to have a chance, some hope, and a chance to live.