Syrian refugees in Lebanon tell their own stories in letters written to the family members the war has forced them to leave behind.
My dear sister,
I don't know what made me write you at such a time. It's shortly before dawn, and all I know is that I terribly miss you, your husband, and your children.
As I write to you, I feel so much sadness because you stayed behind in Syria on your own. You are far away and the war in Syria has grown distance between us.
Dearest sister, not a day goes by without Mum recalling you, as she sheds her tears of pain and longing for you. My conversations with our brother revolve only around you, wondering if you are able to sleep and how you are able to live in the shadow of fear and of murder, displacement, hunger, and sickness. Tomorrow frightens me as I can see death lingering on the horizon. I can only imagine we will continue to flee from one country to another, towards a tragic ending.
How can I not remember you and miss you, when I see Syria reflected in you? It's the Syria scarred by the knives of war, a war that is scattering people here and there, throwing them straight into the claws of displacement, and into the vicious hurricane of death.
On this foreign land, the only consolation I have is praying that God keeps protecting you. I hope we can meet again someday, under the roof of our house that lies in ruins.
There is so much I want to tell you, and in this surge of emotion I forgot to tell you that my wife just had a baby boy; I named him Osama. How I wish you could hold him and wash your love and tenderness over him; the very same love and tenderness you unceasingly showed our siblings and me.
I hope we meet again. May God protect you against all evil, and every harm.
With a lot of love and longing,
Your brother, Ahmad Al-Jasem
A nephew's longing
It's been three years since we left our village. I am writing to you as I think about the last time I saw you.
I remember that very moment when we parted meaninglessly without any significant excuse, nor profound hope of ever meeting again.
We thought it would be but a few weeks before coming back home. We thought everything would quickly go back to normal. However, right now, here we are searching for a glimpse of hope.
Who knew Syria would witness so much death and destruction? I did not know that leaving was going to keep me away from my country for three years. I did not know it was going to make me feel such longing, killing me over and over again every day; especially now, as I write to you.
It is a constant longing for you, for home, for my friends, for happiness, and for my own humanity.
I wonder if those days are behind us for good?
Are the friends I grew up with really dead?
Am I never going to see them again?
Has it truly been three years since I last saw you and your children? I wonder, how do they look after all this time?
Cursed be the judge who sentenced us to such a fate.
Sometimes, I tell myself that this is all a nightmare, that I am asleep, and that it would all go away the moment I wake up.
Sadly, this is not a dream. It is a grave reality.
Your nephew, Hasan Moleye
To raise funds to support 12 million Syrians, including 5.6 million children, who have fled their homes to other parts of Syria and neighbouring countries since the Syrian civil war began four years ago.
New Zealand Herald
, broadcaster Rachel Smalley and World Vision, one of 21 non-government organisations (NGOs) working in a United Nations-led coalition in Syria and surrounding countries.
The 21 NGOs said last week they needed US$8.4 billion ($11.4 billion) to respond to the crisis.
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