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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs