News / Middle East

Turkish Villagers Watch Syrian Crisis Unfold

Residents of Güveççi, Turkey, look across the valley to Syria, June 11 2011
Residents of Güveççi, Turkey, look across the valley to Syria, June 11 2011

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Henry Ridgwell

As the Syrian government continues its violent crackdown on protestors, thousands of people are fleeing across the Turkish border. In the village of Güveççi, Turkish residents have been watching the refugees stream across. The villagers have a unique vantage point on the events taking place across the border.

At the bottom of the valley lies the border dividing Turkey and Syria.

From their rooftops, the residents of Güveççi gather in a daily vigil - searching for any glimpse of what is unfolding in the Syrian hills beyond. Many have relatives living there.

In the late afternoon hundreds of people begin to gather over the border. As the crowd swells they hold a body aloft wrapped in a white sheet.

They carry it to an area of open ground among the orchards.


Locals say the body has been brought here to show the atrocities taking place in Syria to the watching media.

Muhammed is among those watching from the village. He arrived here 2 days ago from Syria. He says there are around 2,000 refugees hiding next to the border among the orchards. He said  the Syrian security agents are targeting people who tried to leave the country.

“They are attacking peoples houses and trying to stop them escaping. They break in to people’s houses and arrest them there. They even attacked them where they are hiding among the trees and took their children away from them. One woman has given birth hiding in those trees. The area where they’re living is completely open to attack. They drink only river water. They wash their clothes in the river and they wash their food with the river water and they drink it," he said.

Muhammed says the body is one of four shot dead by the Syrian security force in the villages just over the border.

Long-time Güveççi resident Abdullahın has seen the numbers of people gathering on the border steadily grow in the past few days. “They are scared to be killed that’s why they’re here. But maybe they don’t let them come in. I don’t know if they want to come to this side or if they stay there I’m sad, of course I’m sad. We are all brothers, we are all Muslims," he said.

Ambulances and Turkish military patrols pass by along the border. Villagers say some refugees are being housed at the local border post.

Locals on the Turkish side say that 2 days ago a group of several hundred refugees came over the border and were picked up by the Turkish military. The Syrians won’t let any foreign journalists in and they’re shutting down mobile phone and internet networks which means it’s impossible to say if more refugees are on their way.

Preparations are being made for more arrivals - like a refugee camp in the nearby town of Yayladağı.

Turkish officials say 4,300 people have now fled across the border. The true number including those who slipped across undetected is likely to be much higher.

Back in Güveççi, the crowd of mourners has disappeared from view. Syrian refugee Muhammed says the protests will go on until the Assad regime is finished. “All they want is to have democracy and freedom. They don’t want anything else from Bashr al-Assad. They want to live in a civilised way like all other countries in the world," he said.

Like the rest of the outside world, the people of Güveççi will continue to watch and wonder exactly what is happening in the lands beyond the border.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid