AL MAFRAQ, Jordan — We came upon 28-year-old Ali within hours of his escape from Syria.
He was standing beside a bare metal cot in the intake section of the Zaatari Refugee Camp, one of the largest such camps in the world. His three-year-old daughter Fidaa and five-year-old niece Safeia, in pretty pink knit sweaters, stood shyly beside him.
Safiea's dad — Ali's brother — was unconscious with fatigue after three days without sleep next to them under a blue coarse-wool United Nations-issue blanket.
Ali, still slightly shell-shocked from an escape that took more than 17 hours of driving and walking across the border into Jordan, did not know what the future held for him and his family but he said it must be better.
"Actually, maybe yes," he said through a UN translator. "Because (here) they're not all fighting and not all shooting and we are safe."
Ali knows that if he goes back to Syria now, he will be killed by Assad's forces.