News / Middle East

For Refugees Who Flee Aleppo, Turkish Camps Await

Refugees Flee Aleppo; Hot, Barren Turkish Camps Awaiti
|| 0:00:00
X
August 03, 2012 1:13 PM
As fighting intensifies between government and rebel forces in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the UnIted Nations estimates that more than 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. Henry Ridgwell travelled to the Turkish border - just 50 kilometers from Aleppo - and found that authorities there are braced for an influx of refugees.
Henry Ridgwell
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey — As fighting intensifies between government and rebel forces in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes.  On the Turkish border, some 50 kilometers from Aleppo, authorities are bracing for an influx of refugees.

In the searing summer heat, the vast and dusty Ceylanpinar refugee camp is the new home for refugees who have fled Syria for their lives.  It is two kilometers from the Turkish-Syrian border and 10 kilometers from the nearest village.

Security is tight and many refugees say that conditions are so inhospitable that they would prefer to take their chances back in Syria.

The UNHCR says more Syrians are fleeing as violence increases. Most are heading to the following countries:

  • Jordan: 150,000 refugees
  • Turkey: 70,000 refugees
  • Lebanon: More than 35,000 refugees
  • Iraq: 12,000 registered refugees
  • Algeria: 10-25,000 refugees

source: UNHCR
Some 29,000 refugees have decided to return home, according to the Turkish government.  Other refugee camps, like Kilis further west, are full.

Aleppo is about a 40 minute drive south.  The United Nations estimates that more than 200,000 people have been forced to flee the city as fighting intensifies.  But so far, only a fraction of that number have crossed the border into Turkey.

"Now the center of Aleppo is being shelled and attacked by the government forces,” explained a refugee from Aleppo, who did not want to be named.  “But the surrounding countryside is under the full control of the Free Syrian Army opposition rebels.  So people are staying with relatives or friends there.”

Turkish authorities say they are preparing for up to 100,000 refugees.

While inspecting the Ceylanpinar camp, Kilis Governor Yusuf Odabas appeared unsure when asked about the potential for a sudden influx of refugees.

“Don’t ask me," he said. "Maybe you have reporters there, you will get more accurate information from them if there are attacks there, or if the refugees are stuck and can’t come here.  Those who come to our border, we bring them in.  Those who are injured, we give medical care.”

Lying in a special medical ward in Antakya General Hospital reserved for Syrians, a man named Mohammed showed the deep wound in his back torn by shrapnel.  He said he was at home in Jisr al-Shugour when government forces launched a mortar attack on the village last week.

He said forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al- Assad are using helicopters and fighter jets and that "all Syrian cities are on fire."

It appears that the Free Syria Army is holding enough ground to allow civilians to escape the gun battles raging in cities like Aleppo.

But if the rebels lose that grip, analysts say camps like Ceylanpinar could soon house tens of thousands more refugees.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid