Syrian Wives Suffer Alone as Husbands Abandon Them for Europe

Trends show more men are abandoning their families in foreign countries for the chance of a new life in Europe, says legal expert

Sarah, a Syrian refugee in Egypt who was waiting to follow her asylum-seeker husband to Sweden, never expected to be dumped and divorced as her partner changed plans and decided to start a new life in Germany.

“When we left Damascus three years ago and came to Egypt, we lived in very hard conditions which pushed us to think of leaving to Europe, it was easier for my husband to go alone to Libya then to Sweden, hoping that he would be able to send me reunion documents when he got asylum."

Sarah, 26, said that several months passed without any news from her husband, only to discover later that he was in Germany, followed by an SMS informing her he wanted to file for divorce.

“I requested my parents to work on divorcing me officially to start new life, my problem is easier than others’ because I do not have any children to suffer with me.”

Sarah is not alone in this heartbreak, as countless other men have left their wives and children to live in Europe with no intention of reuniting.

Hussein Salim, a Syrian refugee in Sweden recounted his friend’s story who left his wife with four children in Jordan with no intention of reuniting, as he does not want his children to live a Western life because their traditions differ.

Thaer, a former lawyer in Syria, explained that similar cases have become more and more frequent, as men abandon their families in Syria and other neighboring countries like Jordan and Lebanon.

“I think that the crisis in Syria has negative effects on Syrians in many aspects, not only the killing, destruction and displacement, but it forced others to leave the country seeking security in neighboring countries, but many of them were not able to cover the cost of living which makes them leave their former lives and their failure to start from scratch in a different place,” Thaer explained.

Thaer believes that the war and daily tragedies that Syrians have had to endure through five years of war has made them hard-hearted and more accepting of tragedies, perceiving tragedies as merely uncontrollable fate. Add to that the feelings of failure, desperation, depression and disappointment which increase the mercilessness and hard-heartedness of those escaping, causing men to become cruel to even their own children.

Sociologist Mohammed Abdullah says it is unfair to judge the practices of the wider Syrian community in recent times, as communities which face these conditions frequently have severe changes and disassociation, often out of their control.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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