Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanese Voices

How Syrians are treated at Airports?

Posted on Lebanese Voices: How Jordan Treats Syrians at the Airport

I arrived Jordan on the 6th of September at 9:30 am. I stood in line at passport control and I noticed that there were some people turning back and going to the back of the hall. I looked back and noticed quite a few people but I thought to myself that maybe there was something special about them.

My turn came up and I approached the guy and I was putting on a face full of politeness (as you should do if you’re a Syrian nowadays so airport security doesn’t think that you’re a criminal or something) and he started asking me about the purpose of my visit.
I told him that I’m here just to pick up my Swedish residency card from the embassy and that I have an appointment at 1:00 pm and that my flight back is at 3:50 pm. He asked me where I’m staying, I told him that I’m not staying anywhere because I’ll be in Jordan for less that 12 hours and I just want to pick up my card because the embassy refused to DHL/Fedex it to me.
Another set of random questions went on and he asked me again where I’m staying. I told him the same thing around 3 times and then he put my passport in a drawer and asked me to go to the end of the hall. I asked him politely for the reason, he looked at as if I have offended him and answered bluntly “No, Go back”.
I went back and noticed an astonishing number of Syrians standing, sitting on the floor, and running around the back of that hall. The same thing happened to all Syrians on the same flight (Beirut to Amman). Some of them were coming from different locations like UAE, and a couple from Saudi.
I stayed there, walking around back and forth around the hall, for about 2 hours. No reason was given what so ever for why we were being held there and not granted entrance (or refusal of entrance). Some people started asking security officers walking around about what’s happening and all they got back was vague answers.
I noticed that security officers were talking with a hostile attitude mixed with a scent of mockery. Nothing was happening at all, security officers were gathered around on one of their desks and talking and laughing like there isn’t anyone waiting.
Till that point I was only afraid that I might miss my appointment at the embassy.
I went back to talk to the same guy who told me to go back in the first place, and asked him about what’s happening and to tell him that my appointment is at 1:00 pm. It was around 11:30 am.
After I told him basically the same thing, he asked me about my name and said “You’re Iranian right?”. I said “No, I’m Syrian”. He hesitated a bit and then asked me “You support the regime or the opposition?“. I was a bit shocked that he asked me that but I couldn’t think of anyway out of getting into this discussion but to play along. I told him that I support neither. That I think both are good and both are bad.
He tried the question again with a different phrasing, trying to force me to pick a side. I said the same thing. Then he told me what if they both were holding a gun to my head. Which side would you be on. I stuttered a bit and told him that I would still pick neither because if they’re going to hold a gun to my head to support, they most definitely don’t deserve my support.
It was showing on his face that he didn’t like my answer. But he told me to go back and sit and that they’ll call me in a bit. I went back and stood in an area where he can see me.
After a couple of minutes, I was called to the office of some airport intelligence officer. He asked me the same thing and I went over the reason I’m traveling to Jordan for the 5th time. He asked me if I have any papers to prove that I’m in Jordan to visit the embassy. I told him that I called the embassy the day before and that they told me that my residency card is ready and that I can pick it up anytime between 1 pm and 2 pm.
The intelligence officer said that he need some document to prove that. I told him that I can show him emails back and forth with the embassy and with Lund university where I’ve been accepted for studies. I told him that my flight to Sweden is this month and that I’ve been out of Syria for the past 3 years.
He kept saying that he needs a document to prove that I’m in Jordan to go to the embassy, so I told him that we can call the embassy and they’ll tell him that my card is there. He complained that I might call some other guy to cheat. I told him to call them himself, and that it’s a phone number, no one can cheat about that.
He looked into my passport for a bit and then abruptly said “No.” and yelled to the other officer in the room to bring in the next guy. Then, I thought maybe I can call the embassy and ask them to provide me with a document to prove that to him.
About 30 minutes passed by and I hear a loud shouting noise from one of the women in the hall. She was complaining (loudly) about  the way they’re treating Syrians and that she’s been standing for about 3 hours and no one had asked her anything yet. Two security officers approached her and took her to the same intelligence officer. They closed the door this time.
After a couple of minutes, they sent her out back to the hall again. I later learned that she’s been banned from entering Jordan ever again.
One of the security officers came and started reading names. He read 6 names and mine was one of them. He asked us all to come with him. He told us that you’re entry has been refused and you’re being sent back.
At that point I didn’t even want to enter anymore. He said that we’ll have to wait until the time of our flight. I thought they’ll make us wait next to the gate, so that’s fine.
A security officer asked us to follow him again and they took us to a room that is something like a forgotten part of Queen Alia’s airport. The room was dirty, non ventilated, and full of people. Some of them sleeping on the floor, some made beds out of there suits to lay on, and a thick layer of smoke filled the top part of the room and made it seem like we’re literally entering prison. We were told to stay there and wait for our flight.
The room was full of Syrians and two Egyptians (From Saeed I presume). I counted up to 50 different young men and women and around 20 children aged 12 or less. All kept in this room. Forcing women to sit in a separate part. Two people from my flight entered the room with me. A guy and girl, same age, either friends or brother and sister. The girl started sobbing. The security officers in there were even worse than the ones I was talking to before.
I remember one guy distinctively. His name is Malek Jamal Mohammad (مالك جمال محمد). While I was sitting there, a woman got out of the women’s area carrying her little girl. The little girl was crying so hard that her face was red and covered with mucus. She approached Malek, who was sitting on a nice chair right on the entrance of the room guarding it. She asked him if she can go to the bathroom to wash her daughter’s face and he started yelling hysterically at her to go back and enter the door. She asked him if she can at least get a drink of water and he continued yelling “WE DON’T HAVE WATER. YOU DRANK ALL OF IT“.
I later learned that there were around 99 people in the room, and that some people have been held in this room for 4 days or more. The smell in the room was beyond BO. It was just like prison.
I stayed there for about 3 more hours awaiting my flight back. Then, an officer called my name and asked me to walk with him. I asked him about my passport and if I can have it back now. He said that I can’t have it before I enter the airplane.
I walked to the gate. He was 2 steps behind me, and I felt like a prisoner. On my way to the gate, an English-speaking (I think an Australian) guy approached him and ,looking worried, asked him if he can speak English. The security guy didn’t understand a word and stared at him for a minute. I took the initiative and said Yes! What do you need? He told me that there was a guy sitting on one the chairs there (he pointed, I noticed a bag there) and that it seemed like he left the bag intentionally, he said it seemed suspicious.
I started to translate back to the security guy what he said and before I start he told me that he understood everything and that he doesn’t need me. We walked three more steps and he asked me about what that guy said about the bag. I told him everything he said, he started mumbling something like forget about it or something of that sorts. He gave me my passport right at the door of the airplane and sent me in.
After settling in my seat, I couldn’t help but think about the other Syrian people left behind in that room.




June 2023

Blog Stats

  • 1,522,494 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 770 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: