Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"5000 Syrians trapped and starving in the Tripoli Airport"

This urgent report was published today on the website of the Syrian Arabic-language biweekly magazine al-Iqtisadi. Here is a rush English translation of it.

Urgent: 5000 Syrians are trapped and starving in the Tripoli Airport. No planes to transport them.   
The Al Iqtisadi website has received many calls from relatives of the expatriate Syrians in Libya, saying that there are about 5000 Syrians now inside the Tripoli Airport in Libya. Some have been there for three days, while others have joined them yesterday. 

Yasin al-Hussain from Damascus told al-Iqtisiadi: "I called my brother Muhammad this morning when communications were temporarily restored in the Tripoli Airport at 6 AM, but communications were disconnected again."

al-Hussain also said: "The condition of the Syrians in the airport is horrible. One Syrian plane arrived and transported a number of Syrians. But it did not come back, despite the fact that it asked for much higher prices than before". 

al-Hussain adds: "Everyone expressed willingness to pay, but the plane did not return. The Syrian Embassy considers its job done as soon as the Syrians make it to the airport, where the Syrians now live trapped in conditions of scarce food and drinking water. This is already affecting children, women and ill people and it may result in a disaster soon." 

In the meantime, most other countries with large expatriate communities in Libya, have established air bridges to transport their nationals back home. First and foremost this includes Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, while at the same time Syrians of the expatriate community in Libya still await the Syrian planes to come and transport them. 

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has been contacted for two days now by tens of relatives of the Syrian expatriate community in Libya inquiring about ways to save their siblings and kin, who relay back to them through communications confirmation that air strikes are on the rise in all areas of the Libyan capital. 

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