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Syrian women face heat, harassment while picking Jordan's crops

Many women who fled the war in Syria have found themselves working to survive with their entire families in Jordan's fields.

MAFRAQ, Jordan — When her 12-year-old daughter Uala started bleeding, Siam thought it was her period. But after 45 days, it was clear something was wrong with her. It was August 2017, and Siam and her daughter were working in a greenhouse in one of the hundreds of farms in the Mafraq area of northern Jordan. In summer, temperatures reach 35 or 40 degrees Celsius (95 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), usually 10 more inside the greenhouse.

Siam is from Aleppo. Five years ago she had no choice but to join her husband, who had already been working in Mafraq since 2005. Over the past few years, Syrian women picking tomatoes or cucumbers have become a common sight in the fields of Badia Shmali, as this area is called.

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