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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid