Syria: A potential disaster

Matthew Hay Brown, for the Pulitzer Center
Damascus, Syria

Of Mustafa Hamad's 10 children, seven are old enough to go to school. Only four do.

The Iraqi Kurd, who brought his family here from Baghdad last year, is surviving on assistance from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and remittances from a brother-in-law who lives in Britain. He says he can't afford school fees for three of his daughters.

Jordan: The pain of exile

Matthew Hay Brown, for the Pulitzer Center
Amman, Jordan

Back home in Baghdad, Najim Abid Hajwal owned a sheepskin factory. He had a house in the fashionable Al Mansour neighborhood and a farm where he raised chickens and grew oranges and lemons.

I met Hajwal this morning at a clinic run by the Catholic charity Caritas in East Amman. He was clutching an envelope containing X-rays taken of his 16-year-old son, who had fallen off a roof while attempting to adjust a satellite dish.

Jordan: The view from here

Matthew Hay Brown, for the Pulitzer Center
Amman, Jordan

The flood of Iraqis into Jordan is crowding classrooms, straining the health care system and draining the limited water supply here. It is blamed for driving up housing costs and -- although it is illegal for most Iraqis to work here -- creating more competition for jobs.

The influx is seen generally as another burden on a developing nation in which the people are struggling, as in other places, with the rising costs of fuel, food and other necessities.

Iraq: Getting ready to report

Matthew Hay Brown, for the Pulitzer Center

In a sense, I've been preparing for this trip since the spring of 2000. That's when I first traveled to Iraq, to write about life for Iraqis then caught between sanctions and Saddam.

I journeyed from Baghdad to Basra, visiting hospitals, schools and the homes of ordinary Iraqis. By then, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq was estimating that the widest-ranging embargo in history, then more than nine years old, had been responsible for the deaths of one million Iraqis, most of them children.

Iraq: Following the refugee trail

Matthew Hay Brown, for the Pulitzer Center
Washington, DC

In the two and a half years since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samara inspired whole new levels of sectarian violence across Iraq, hundreds of thousands have fled their homeland. More than 2 million now have settled in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and other countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That's nearly one in 10 Iraqis.