Syrian self-immolation refugee to Lebanon renews call for support

Mariam, a 45-year-old Syrian refugee woman, receives treatment for her severe burns at a hospital in Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli. (Reuters)

A Syrian refugee in Lebanon who doused herself with petrol and set herself alight after her U.N. aid was cut said her case deserves support from the refugee agency.

Mariam al-Khawli, who fled Syria with her husband and four children two years ago, set herself on fire in January in frustration at living without the food and cash lifeline provided by the United Nations since August.

Three weeks after Al Arabiya’s first visit, Mariam is still in the hospital and her health condition appears to have improved. However, it is a matter of months until she fully recovers.

She told Al Arabiya she does not regret setting herself ablaze.

“There’s lots of pain. I do not regret it, I felt relieved when I burnt myself. My children were telling me they feel dizzy and I couldn’t feed them. I set myself ablaze for the sake of my children,” she said.

Mariam said her family relied heavily on aid as her husband is unable to work due to a lung abscess and three of her children have a blood condition.

“The Syrian people are heartbroken over their children. I urge all people to help my family and Syrian refugees,” Mariam added.

Although the U.N. refugee agency is sponsoring Mariam’s treatment at the hospital, her family was not registered on the agency’s fund list.

The U.N. refugee agency says there are one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The agency says a shortage of funds from donors is limiting the U.N.’s ability to support many refugees like Mariam.

(with Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43