Justin Vela

Syrians flee to the Turkish border…

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A billboard in Damascus, Syria photographed in June 2008.

Istanbul-On Thursday I returned from six days along the Turkish-Syrian border, where I was working for The Independent on a series of articles about the growing refugee crisis there. I was joined by The Independent’s veteran correspondent Kim Sengupta, who was between stints in Libya. The articles can be found in the June 2011 section of this page. 

Thousands of refugees fleeing violence inside of Syria have been massing just inside the Syrian side of the border, camping in poor conditions in an orchard. About 10,000 have decided to cross the border into Turkey and have been housed in several camps set up by the Turkish government.

Most analysts are predicting that this is the end of Assad regime. However, that end is likely to be at least several months away and the refugees I interviewed described the Syrian military as engaging in a “scorched-earth” campaign across the country as they attempted to suppress a growing number of demonstrations.

The flood of refugees present a very real challenge for Turkey.

More broadly speaking, Syria is a regional power in the Middle East. As the house of Assad falls, many are wondering what it will attempt to take with it.

Syrian refugees near the Turkey-Syria border. June 2011.

Syrian refugees near the Turkey-Syria border. June 2011.


Written by Justin Vela

June 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

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