Syrians refugees thought Egypt would be safe. They were wrong.
Long before the start of the Arab Spring, Syrians in the southern town of Saqba had close ties with Egyptians in Damietta. For generations, the two towns were their countries’ capitals of furniture making, and businessmen and artisans moved back and forth between them. When Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime began driving citizens from their homes, many residents of Saqba found Damietta a logical destination. Some had existing relationships with Egyptians there, and Egypt overall was welcoming toward Syrian refugees.