Syrian refugee sets himself on fire in Beirut

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A Syrian man was caught on tape as he rushed into a store in Beirut after setting himself on fire in an act of “hopelessness” over the situation in his country and difficulty paying debts.

Ahmed, who had previously threatened to commit suicide according to his family, set himself on fire as a result of the violence taking place in Syria, according to his mother, who did not give her family name.

Other factors involved in his self-immolation include the family’s displacement from their home and Ahmed’s debt, incurred as a result of a car accident, his mother said.

“We are hopeless... we are exhausted, we have no helper but God,” Ahmed’s parents told Al Arabiya.

The 19-year-old told his parents if they did not give him $4,000 to help pay for the damages of a rented car he had previously crashed, he would kill himself. According to his mother, he leased the car against his parents will and shortly after was involved in the crash.

After rushing from one hospital to another, the family found a hospital that received Ahmed and gave him the immediate medical attention he needed.

“There are 30 percent burns on Ahmed’s body,” said a spokesman at the Jeeta Hospital in Beirut, where Ahmed was treated. He added that Ahmed was suffering third degree burns on his face.

According to doctors at the hospital, Ahmed was operated on immediately after his arrival to the facility, as a result of damages to his breathing system.

“What’s dangerous about his situation is that he inhaled the gas he poured on himself which resulted in serious damage to his lungs and breathing system.”

Although Ahmed was given immediate care, the hospital is waiting to receive $45,000 to resume the patient’s full treatment cost.

“He told us he wanted to rent a car... but we both disapproved,” Ahmed’s mother told Al Arabiya. “He didn’t listen to us and instead decided to rent the cab anyway.”

Ahmed, who works as a butcher in Beirut, fled the Syrian civil war with his family five months ago and moved to Lebanon. The family built a shelter from cartons in a parking lot in Beirut.

Ahmed’s father told Al Arabiya that he did not want to live in the refugee camps in Lebanon because he believed there were other families that were “more desperate” for shelter than his own.