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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid