NORTHERN JORDAN (BP) -- Muhammad*, two of his sisters and an elderly uncle sit on the floor of a rented house beside a trash-strewn gully in a town near Jordan's northern border with Syria.
The uncle fingers his prayer beads and looks into space as a mosque nearby sounds the Muslim call to prayer. Children of various ages trek in and out of the room, playing games to stave off boredom. A little boy clutches a stuffed teddy bear; a girl admires her reflection in a pink hand mirror. The women hastily cover their faces when a visitor's camera appears -- not for modesty or religious reasons, but for fear of the long arm of the ruling Assad regime in Syria.
Life for this Syrian refugee family now consists of sitting and waiting. But it's better than the hellish existence they endured for months in Homs, the besieged city across the border they fled in March. Much of Homs, one of the centers of the year-old Syrian uprising, has been shelled to rubble by Syrian military forces bent on crushing the widening rebellion.
"Homs is a city of ghosts now," Muhammad says, sipping tea with his visitors. "There is no value to a human life there."
He should know. The 41-year-old Sunni Muslim refugee has lost three family members to the violence. His wife's brother was arrested, tortured and killed before his abused body was released to the family more than a month later. Another brother joined the rebel forces and died in a bombing. Read More