The Syrian inmates of a camp at Dhekelia have said that they are in despair. According to reports by Greek Cypriot daily ‘Phileleftheros’, the conditions at the camp are pretty grim. The camp is constantly patrolled, visitors are warned off and the whole area is surrounded by barbed wire.
“Tell the people in Cyprus and in Europe that our living conditions are not good, that there are many problems,” Ibrahim, one of the 102 Syrian refugees kept in the camp in Dhekelia, told ‘Phileleftheros’ reporters on Monday.
“Let the people know that since we landed on a sovereign British base in Cyprus, it is our right to go to England and Europe in search of a better life, employment and a new beginning. We did not leave Syria, selling everything we had, to become captives by the British in Cyprus and be threatened to be deported back Lebanon. We ask for your help, for solidarity.”
After reports that the refugees were given seven days to claim asylum in the country or face deportation to Lebanon, many of the detained Syrians have started a hunger strike. They are also threatening to cut through the barbed wire and seek refuge in the Republic of Cyprus.
More than 30 young children have become ill because the tents do not keep them warm at night, they say. They also claim that the British have not supplied any medication, clothing and shoes. However, what they resent the most is that they they are incarcerated in the camp under 24 hour guard and they are not able to see beyond the camp boundaries because of a black cloth which has been place around the camp perimeter.
“We feel that we are nowhere. It is like we are in a prison,” said another Syrian girl. “Please tell the world.”