By Alberto Maretti
Syrian refugees have been welcomed by the government Morsi as war refugees and created a large community in different cities of Egypt.The most important one settled in 6th October City, 40 km from Cairo. Over the time, apartments and basic necessities were distributed to refugees, who slowly started businesses in Egypt and brought there most of their families. After the coup that deposed President Morsi, the situation for refugees underwent a drastic change.
Judged as allies and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, and accused of taking to the streets in demonstrations, Syrians became scapegoats for the problems in Egypt and have been subject to attacks of any kind.They have been prone to strong pressures both from the population and the police.
A country with 75% of the population living in poverty looks at Syrian refugees as mouths to feed and determining a reduction of jobs for the Egyptians.The solutions to the problem seem to be forced returns of refugees to their countries and attempts to move them towards the borders of neighboring countries. Unwarranted arrests, including children, and violations of rights are more and more frequent. Strong media pressure also feeds xenophobia among the population. Shortly after the coup, a a multitude of charities in support of Syrian community has been destroyed by men armed with bats, leaflets saying “Fight the Syrian occupation and defend your jobs” were distributed in the streets.
Many Syrians chose to spend less time in public or to leave Egypt for Lebanon,Turkey and Jordan, exacerbating the refugee crisis in the region. Others chose to entrust their future to smugglers and fleeing by boat to Italy. Moreover, hundreds of Syrians were arrested and deported.