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"I grabbed the rifle and begged the gunman not to shoot"-Syrian refugee in Iraq

Friday, January 17, 2014 - 01:24

Jan. 17 - Syrian refugees arrive in northern Iraq recounting tales of loss and despair. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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They are escaping the war at home. Syrians pour into northern Iraq. One woman said she had no place left to go. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE FROM QAMSHELI, UM MUHAMMED, SAYING: "We were moving from one place to another inside Syria, but we couldn't find anywhere safe to stay, leaving us only this place to come to." This man left five daughters behind. He arrives with the clothes on his back. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE, ADNAN ALI AHMED, SAYING: "We were scared. We locked our house, and left all we have inside it and came here. We left everything there. We didn't bring anything with us. We didn't bring anything to keep us warm, not even clothes." This mother of six said she and her family never wanted to leave Syria. That changed when gunmen stormed their house. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE, HANIFA IBRAHIM, SAYING: "I told my son to runaway so they don't kill him. He managed to escape. I stayed with the rest of the family. They started beating me as soon as they entered, even though one of them was saying not to hit women." She grieves for what's been lost (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE, HANIFA IBRAHIM, SAYING: "My brother-in-law came into the house. They pointed the rifle at him. I grabbed the rifle and begged the gunman not to shoot. He killed him and shot me in both legs and left." The UN estimates that more than 200,000 Syrians sought shelter in northern Iraq last year alone.

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"I grabbed the rifle and begged the gunman not to shoot"-Syrian refugee in Iraq

Friday, January 17, 2014 - 01:24