A Christian refugee family from Syria decided to return home in Damascus after a year spent in Poland. Not knowing the language, they had problems with finding well-paid jobs or studies at Polish unis. They attended a Polish language course but it didn`t help.
The situation in Damascus has improved and they had inherited an apartment so they left Poland.
They were in the group of 150 Christian refugees who came to Poland in 2015 and settled in Tarnów. Today, only about 30 remained - the rest returned home or moved to Germany and Scandinavia (where social benefits are much higher than in Poland).
Cultural difference 1 - In Poland, both parents usually work to enjoy a decent standard of living. In Syria, it is man`s duty to make enough money to provide for the whole family. That is why the Syrian husband/father was very disappointed he couldn`t keep up their native lifestyle in Poland.
The Battle of Damascus (Arabic: معركة دمشق), also known as Operation Damascus Volcano (Arabic: عملية بركان دمشق), started on 15 July 2012 during the Syrian Civil War. It is unclear who started the battle. Thousands of rebels infiltrated Damascus from the surrounding countryside. Following this, according to some reports, the opposition forces launched an operation to capture the capital, while according to other reports, the military learned of the large-scale rebel operation beforehand and made a preemptive strike. Some reports even suggested the rebels launched the operation prematurely due to their plans being discovered by the security forces.
After the rebels initially captured half a dozen districts and killed four high-ranking government ministers in a bombing, opposition forces were forced to retreat following a military counter-attack, leaving the army in control of the capital after three weeks of fighting. It was the first time tanks and helicopters had been deployed in central Damascus and left parts of the city as a warzone.
Palestinian fighters recaptured some occupied parts of the Yarmouk refugee camp near Syrian capital, in 2012. Heavy clashes erupted in the camp between Palestinians and foreign-backed militants in which tens of insurgents affiliated to al-Nusra Front were killed and the remaining retreated and ran to other areas. Palestinian groups started to gather fighters in July 2012 to stand against militants who entered the camp a few months earlier. Many of the Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave the camp by militants who seeked to use it as a base to step up their attacks on Damascus. Belongings left by the militants in the buildings showed they were al-Nusra fighters. In the few months of their presence in the camp, militants had dug several tunnels to transfer arms and equipments. Digging tunnels is a common practice among militants fighting against the government in Syria. They use them for moving around, transferring equipments and even targeting people and army soldiers. An army commander told Fadhl that, army soldiers are going to continue the path they started and plan to move on to the Hare al-Sa'ada and al-Rajoule Mosque. Palestinian fighters were determined to move on and restore security to the camp. Yarmouk camp was home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria. The camp turned into a flashpoint area in Damascus when unrest broke out in the Arab country in 2011. In June 2012, United Nations Relief and Works Agency's commissioner general described Palestinian refugee camps in Syria as "theaters of war." "Killings, kidnappings, poverty, destruction and fear have become part of daily life," Filippo Grandi said. More than half of the 530,000 Palestinian refugees registered in Syria have been displaced and 15 percent have fled abroad, including 60,000 to neighboring Lebanon and over 7,000 to Jordan.
Jafra PFLP-Office in the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp
Yarmouk Camp (Arabic: مخيم اليرموك) is a 2.11-square-kilometre (0.81 sq mi) district of the city of Damascus, populated by Palestinians, with hospitals and schools. It is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the center of Damascus and inside the municipal boundaries but when established in 1957, it was outside the surrounding city. Yarmouk is an "unofficial" refugee camp; it was home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria. As of June 2002, there were 112,550 registered refugees living in Yarmouk.
During the Syrian Civil War, Yarmouk camp became the scene of intense fighting in 2012 between the Free Syrian Army and the PFLP-GC supported by Syrian Army government forces. The camp then was consequently taken over by various factions and was deprived of supplies, resulting in hunger, diseases and a high death rate, which caused many to leave. By the end of 2014, the camp population had gone down to just 20,000 residents.
In early April 2015, most of the Yarmouk camp was overrun by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, sparking armed clashes with Palestinian militia Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis, associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, ISIL (Daesh) attack resulted in 40 ISIL militants killed; Palestinian sources reported about 12 camp residents killed, while Syrian source reported 13 killed; and independent sources also confirmed two fatalities from mortar fire in an adjacent Damascus area. It was reported that despite Palestinian militia resistance and parallel bombing by the Syrian Air Force, ISIL still controlled 90% of the camp by 6 April. The situation in the camp came to the attention of the UN Security Council, which aimed to discuss the prospects of some 18,000 residents of the occupied camp.
It took Azad Nouri from Iraq a few years to permanently settle down in Poland. In an interview he talks about multiple beaurocratic problems he faced in Poland. Despite decent education and languages, he couldn`t find good work because employers told him he looked like a gypsy and would provoke negative stereotypes. He felt disappointed because the famous Polish hospitality didn`t work in his case. Now his situation is a little better but his relatives who had chosen Germany have had easier life there.
Cultural difference 2 - People from the Middle East have darker skin and hair and sometimes may indeed resemble Roma Gypsies who have always resided in Poland but the general opinion about them is very negative. In close neighbour rankings a Gypsy person is on the lowest position.
Tatiana Jerochowa escaped to Bydgoszcz from war-torn Donieck region in Ukraine. She is a gynecologist and came here with three kids. They received a furnished flat, she found a job at a local hospital, kids went to local schools. Her daughter studied medicine in Ukraine and now is trying to enroll at Medical Uni in Bydgoszcz.
The same with other families who came here with children. They were welcomed warmly and are planning to settle permanently.
There are beaurocratic problems but families are happy to be here and don`t want to go back.