RAMTHA, Jordan — When the Syrian refugees first started streaming into this bedraggled border town, Gassim al-Moghrebi was their tireless benefactor, distributing donations of food, money and clothes and sheltering as many as possible in two apartments he owned.
“All of Ramtha was just like me,” Mr. Moghrebi said, describing a good will rooted in family ties that spanned the border, and sympathy for the victims of a pitiless war. “One man had 10 apartments. He gave them to the Syrians for free.”
But now, as Syria witnesses a new escalation of violence, including waves of Russian airstrikes, and as Syrians flee again by the tens of thousands, neighboring countries are increasingly overwhelmed and reluctant to let them in. In many places, that early altruism has hardened into resentment — an ominous turn for those searching for safety from the war.
Desperate Syrians are backed up at the borders of Jordan and Turkey, barred from entering or else just allowed to trickle in. Increasingly, they find escape routes closing.
“They have become a nuisance,” Mr. Moghrebi said.
In Ramtha, the bulging population has set off a competition between locals and the refugees for resources, including housing, water, schools and work. When the border crossing was closed, Mr. Moghrebi was forced to shut down his decades-old money exchange business. Instead, he has to rely on the income of his 29-year-old son, the only one of his 10 children who still has a job, he said. Jordan would be better off if the refugees stayed in camps, he added.
The anger has left many Syrians further marginalized in the already isolating struggle to survive. Mohamed, a 13-year-old Syrian with an irrepressible smile who now lives in the northern Jordanian town of Irbid, said he did not socialize with the other children on his street and had made only one real friend: another Syrian teenager who worked with him at a cleaning fluids factory, making the equivalent of $7 a day.
In his spare time, he said, he watched videos of the Syrian war.
Officials in Jordan, a longtime sanctuary for refugees from the region’s wars, now put the number of Syrians there around 1.4 million. They had been warning for years that the country had reached its limit. Last week, they made even more dire admonitions at a London donor conference on Syria, pushing for more aid while channeling the darkening mood at home.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/08/world/middleeast/as-syrians-flee-anew-neighbors-altruism-hardens-into-resentment.html?mwrsm=Email&_r=0