Istanbul, Turkey – Subsequent to the procedures taken by neighboring countries towards Syrians, requiring visas for entrance and official residency permits as in the case of Lebanon, Syrian refugees face mounting constraints and encounter hardships in terms of housing in Turkey.
The current weather conditions constitute another challenge to the displaced Syrians, especially those based in tents or living in slums.
On Saturday the Turkish authorities began to evacuate Syrian families who had settled in the slum areas in the capital Ankara, after calls to transfer them to refugee camps. The authorities took this step under the pretext of providing the refugees with better living conditions “other than in randomized homes”.
Speaking to ARA News in Ankara, a Turkish police officer (who participated in evacuating Syrians from the slum areas) justified the action, saying: “The decision is only meant to protect the refugees from the harsh weather conditions that prevail in the region; it’s mere humanitarian work actually.”
Returning to Syria better than Refugee Camps
Abu Ibrahim, a displaced Syrian man who fled the war-torn city of Aleppo, expressed concerns about such decisions by the Turkish authorities.
“I would prefer to return to Aleppo than to live in these camps, because I suffered a lot in Kilis refugee camp earlier. Staying in slum areas is much better than camps,” he said.
“Despite the lack of the basic elements of comfort in these makeshift homes here, I feel a margin of freedom of movement and privacy, as well as the possibility of finding jobs to earn a living, which is not available in the camps,” Abu Ibrahim told ARA News.
Ahmad K., father of three children from the city of Idlib, said that he has been living in one of these houses in Ankara for a year and a half, and that his children are now accustomed to living there.
“I work in a nearby shop and started to feel comfortable in this place. But because of this decision I am obliged to change my accommodation again and search for a new job or return to the camps,” he argued.
This comes amid growing threats to Syrian refugees regarding asylum and their legal status in the neighboring countries.
Reporting by: Mustafa Hamed
Source: ARA News
For the latest news follow us on Twitter
Join our Weekly Newsletter