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

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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid