Syrians flee to Lebanon as violence heats up before ceasefire

By April 9, 2012

Lebanon (MNN) — Violence is reportedly increasing in Syria approaching the April 10 ceasefire deadline given to the government by the U.N.

"Every time the regime is given a deadline, it is a catastrophe," one refugee told Reuters. Incidents of gunfire and other violence have been largely reported over the last several days.

As a result of the significant unrest recently, the number of refugees fleeing Syria has increased as well. Many are attempting a flight into Lebanon.

"It's currently believed that there are around about 13,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon," says Matt Parker with Kids Alive International. "It could be that the total is actually higher."

Many are fleeing from Homs, which has seen countless bloody days in the last year. The escape from Syria is incredibly dangerous though. Far beyond difficult terrain, refugees have also reportedly been shot at while fleeing.

"In fact, I was hearing that the Syrian army has actually put quite a few mines along the border to try and stop people entering Lebanon," adds Parker.

Many of those who are running through these brutal traps are children.

"It's thought that around about one third of the refugees that have come from Syria to Lebanon are under the age of 18. And around about 20% are thought to be four years of age or younger," says Parker.

Kids Alive is particularly concerned for these kids. When their families miraculously arrive safely in Lebanon, they are forced to live in desperate conditions without heat, water, education, health care or other vital necessities. Vulnerable children suffer the most.

In response, Kids Alive has been working with partners to provide aid. They have also taken a number of the children into their school program. They are providing for basic needs but are also offering hope as they take opportunities to share Christ's love.

"I know that there are people that are–as in any crisis situation–turning to the Lord at these times," says Parker.

At this point, Kids Alive is doing all that they can do, says Parker, but "we would love to be able to do more in this situation to help the refugees. Any funding that comes in specifically for that will be used, with our partners, to work and meet the needs particularly of the children and to meet the needs of the refugees that have been coming into the country."

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