Faten Bohlak, 52, who asked not to be photographed, sits next to one of her 14 grandchildren at her apartment in Zarqa, Jordan

CNS PHOTO | BARB FRAZE

Faten Bohlak, 52, who asked not to be photographed, sits next to one of her 14 grandchildren at her apartment in Zarqa, Jordan

January 12, 2015
BARB FRAZE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ZARQA, JORDAN – More than anything else, Faten Bohlak would like to go to Austria.

The 52-year-old refugee from Syria would like to join her two sons, aged 34 and 19, who have been resettled in Austria. The youngest son, she added, is "the heart of my heart."

For now, she lives in a sparsely furnished apartment above a small shop in Zarqa, Jordan's second-largest city.

The paint is chipped on the two-tone purple walls. A small two-door cabinet holds a TV and hand lotion. Visitors sit on a three-person couch, while Bohlak and her husband sit on two single mattresses.

Her 24-year-old son is job-hunting, and the clock on the wall helps keep track of how long the infant in the car seat has been sleeping.

Bohlak and her husband, who identified himself only as Issa, have seven children and 14 grandchildren. When the war in Syria heated up in 2012 and bombing in Homs began, Bohlak asked her children to leave.

When the bombing reached their neighbourhood, they left their home and, Bohlak said, she saw it collapse. They had no passports or legal papers, so they entered Jordan illegally, dropped off at the border at night.

One daughter has been resettled in Canada, and one in the United States.

"We are waiting for resettlement," she told reporters. "I don't want to go back to our country."

She fears Jordan will send them back to Syria. She fears the UN will stop assistance, and they will not have food. For now, she, her husband and son each get UN assistance of $70 per month; their rent is nearly $185 per month.

"We depend 100 per cent on the money and services that nongovernmental organizations provide," Issa said.

"I'm afraid things will deteriorate more than it is right now," when they already have nothing, added Issa, 63.

"Let me just live my end of days in dignity," he asked.