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Sun special investigation: Iraqi refugees

More than 2 million civilians have fled the kidnappings, car bombs and killings of war-ravaged Iraq for the relative safety of Jordan, Syria and other Arab neighbors. The greatest refugee exodus in the Middle East since the Palestinian flight of 1948 is impoverishing the Iraqi middle class — and straining relations in an already volatile region. Baltimore Sun reporter Matthew Hay Brown follows the refugee trail, from the Middle East to Maryland.

Brown traveled to Syria and Jordan on a World Affairs Journalism Fellowship funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and administered by the International Center for Journalists. In recent years, United Nations officials say, when refugees have been identified by name in the Western news media, their families in Iraq have been threatened or harmed. The Sun permitted many of the refugees interviewed for these articles to adopt assumed names to protect their relatives in Iraq.

  • No place to go

    No place to go

    An impoverished middle class fleeing violence and disorder leaves Iraq disadvantaged and its neighbors overwhelmed

  • Nostalgia for Saddam Hussein's rule

    Najim Abid Hajwal has been having a difficult time renewing his passport. He submitted his paperwork at the Iraqi Embassy here but was told days later that he was a wanted man back home in Iraq. It turned out that the Interior Ministry was after someone with a similar name. He submitted a new set...

  • Iraqis keep low profile in neighboring states

    These refugees aren't in camps. And that's making it more difficult for aid workers to address their growing needs. The great majority of Iraqis who have come to Syria have settled in and around the capital. Most have disappeared into the cosmopolitan population of this Middle Eastern hub; many...

  • Syria sees no sectarian strife among Iraqis

    As a Sunni Muslim married to a Shia, Hamid Al Dulayme was threatened by both sides in Baghdad. When militia members broke into his house in 2005, he fled Iraq. In Syria, he says, he has left sectarian conflict behind. "The best thing here is there is no problem between different groups," Dulayme...

  • Iraqi refugee timeline

    Early 2003 The United States prepares to lead the invasion of Iraq. The United States and others position personnel and supplies in the region to respond to a possible refugee crisis. March 19, 2003 President George W. Bush announces the start of combat. Troops enter Baghdad in April; Bush announces...

  • U.S. slow to meet needs, refugees say

    U.S. slow to meet needs, refugees say

    Despite substantial American contributions, displaced Iraqis' needs dwarf all efforts to aid them

  • Roadblocks to return

    Official blames U.S. military, U.N. refugee agency, news media

  • 'You cannot turn your back'

    After a stranger snapped her photograph as she entered the Green Zone, Tina Raad's family begged her to get out of Iraq. At first, she resisted. The Iraqi woman had sought work with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Baghdad because she wanted to join in the reconstruction of her...

  • A disorienting experience


    Once among their nation's elite, some Iraqi refugees have found economic hardship and loneliness in Md.

  • A few are willing to risk the return to Baghdad

    Hasem Abed is thinking about going back to Iraq. The small-time auto trader, 32, left Diyala earlier this year after members of a Shia militia destroyed his house. He says this town outside Damascus has been more secure, but he has run out of money and has been unable to find work. He is thinking...

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