Feature: Exhibition portrays life of Syrian refugees in Libya

Publisher: Xinhua News Agency
Story date: 04/11/2013
Language: English

TRIPOLI, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) – A multimedia exhibition is ongoing here offering a glimpse into the life of Syrian refugees in Libya.

As of last month, about 200,000 Syrians were scattered across Libya, Qais Arabi, head of the Association of the Syrian Community in Libya, told Xinhua on Saturday at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

The two-week event, named "FarawaySyria," was organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Libya. It tells the stories of asylum-seekers from Syria sheltered in Libya.

"I was in Syria a few months ago. There I witnessed the shelling on the civilians and I left the country with a convoy of children ... heading to the Turkish border," exhibition curator Nancy Porsia said at the opening ceremony.

"When I moved to Libya I found out that many refugees from Syria reached Libya and then I decided to organize an exhibition to tell the long journey of thousands of asylum-seekers from Syria up to Europe with a special focus on their displacement in Libya," she added.

Syria is far away from Libya in distance, yet the two countries are close in culture, history and people. FarawaySyria intends to take a closer look at the refugee displacement crisis and identify the intersection points between them.

Photos from Syria, Libya, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Italy were divided into several sections, including the journey of the Syrian refugees fleeing to neighboring countries and the situation of refugees in Libya.

Many refugees currently encounter difficulties in finding jobs and having access to medical assistance or education in the host country, while a small number of them are reportedly under arrest or detention over allegations of ties with the Syrian government.

Due to the difficulties of settling in Libya, thousands of Syrian refugees fled to Italy and Malta by boat with high risks and expensive tickets.

According to Porsia, many of the children in the pictures at the exhibition died in recent shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Syrian civil war has created the world's largest refugee crisis of the last 20 years. According to non-official estimates, more than 110,000 Syrian refugees have sought refuge in Libya, while over 14,000 of them are registered with the UNHCR.

However, "the mainstream media do not talk about the displacement of refugees from Syria here in Libya and even the figure is quite underestimated. But there are roughly 200,000," added Porsia, an Italian free-lance journalist.

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