News / Middle East

    Turkey Shifts Syrian Refugees from Borders

    Henry Ridgwell
    Turkey has begun moving some of the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees on its soil away from the border area. United Nations officials, including actress Angelina Jolie, visited one of the refugee camps Thursday.

    The Kilis camp next to Turkey’s border with Syria is home to almost 12,000 refugees.

    The visit by U.N. refugee special envoy and Hollywood star Angelina Jolie put the refugees’ plight back in the headlines - but many residents, like father of four Abu Omer, were skeptical.

    He says that he doesn't expect anything from the United Nations. He predicts "nothing will come of it" as U.N. officials "have come here many times but nothing changed.”

    The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres called on other countries to help.

    “Countries like Turkey, like Lebanon, like Jordan, also like Iraq are making an enormous effort," he said. "They are showing enormous solidarity and they deserve also the solidarity with the international community.”

    That’s a view shared by Turkey.
     
    Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, center left, in her role as special envoy for the U. N. refugee agency, and UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, center right, at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Kilis, Turkey, September 13, 2012.Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, center left, in her role as special envoy for the U. N. refugee agency, and UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, center right, at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Kilis, Turkey, September 13, 2012.
    x
    Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, center left, in her role as special envoy for the U. N. refugee agency, and UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, center right, at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Kilis, Turkey, September 13, 2012.
    Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, center left, in her role as special envoy for the U. N. refugee agency, and UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, center right, at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Kilis, Turkey, September 13, 2012.
    An estimated 80,000 refugees are living in 10 camps close to the border. Some 30,000 to 40,000 Syrians are believed to be living outside the camps in Turkey, many with relatives or in private rented accommodations in cities like Antakya.

    Turkey has begun trying to move those refugees either into the camps or away from the border region.

    “Turkey and other neighboring countries, especially Jordan, are not getting enough international assistance to share the burden of this," said Selcuk Unal, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry. "We are not asking them to leave the country but local authorities could of course take some steps from time to time to arrange accommodation of these people in order to let all the provinces in Turkey to have a more equal burden share.”

    Turkey initially tried to deal with the crisis without outside help, says Turkey specialist Katerina Dalacoura of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    “They have realized that they have bitten off more than they could chew in this particular case. In other words they cannot on their own deal with this problem as they thought they could,” she said.

    As Kurds have taken control of much of the northeast of Syria, Dalacoura says the conflict is spilling into Turkey.

    “The lack of control from the center, Damascus that is, has led to a flare up of violence within Turkey through the Kurdish areas which have been becoming more of free-for-all for Kurdish activists,” she said.

    Syrians are continuing to flee their homes and their country. Amateur footage posted on the Internet, reportedly filmed in Aleppo on Wednesday, shows families fleeing with suitcases as gunfire rings out across the city.

    The U.N. estimates a quarter of a million people have fled Syria. Many analysts say that the scale of the exodus could soon force the international community to act. But with military intervention unlikely, there appears little chance the refugees can return home anytime soon.

    You May Like

    Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.