Uncertainty Grips Syrian Refugees In Turkey After Quake

'We have nothing': Uncertainty surrounds Syrian refugees in Turkey after earthquake

The death toll in both countries has risen to the hundreds. (Represent)


Ridwan Gurre had an instinct to evade roaring fighters as he lived in Syria during the civil war. But he was little prepared for the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated his adoptive home in Turkey on Monday.

The 42-year-old joined nearly 4 million Syrians when he moved his family to a relatively safe area in southeastern Turkey, an area once plagued by violence between militants and government forces.

He spent seven years building a new home in the multi-ethnic city of Diyarbakir. His life was back on track.

Now it’s gone.

Gurre was forced to spend the last two nights with his wife and two sons on the turquoise carpet of the city’s ancient Grand Mosque.

The massive church was rebuilt from another major earthquake nearly a millennium ago but remained intact after this one. Gurre felt safe for the moment but wasn’t sure what would happen next.

“When we went to war, we knew that when planes flew overhead, that was when we had to take cover,” Gurre said.

Hundreds of others fell asleep on furniture or covered themselves with blankets as Gurre pondered his fate.

Women breastfed their babies while happy children – happy unaware of the tragedy unfolding around them – played in busy corners.

“When the earthquake happened at such an unexpected hour, we didn’t know what would happen next,” Gurre said.

Worry for Aleppo

The pre-dawn shock killed thousands in their sleep and left countless trapped under concrete slabs in the freezing cold.

Others were killed in aftershocks that were sweeping across Turkey and parts of neighboring Syria day and night.

The death toll in both countries rose to hundreds of people per hour and passed 11,200 on Wednesday afternoon.

Mercan al Ahmad, an Aleppo native, recalls life in Syria, where she struggled to find food. Now she can barely sleep again.

“We escaped death in Syria, and now we have an earthquake in Turkey,” said the 17-year-old. “We couldn’t sleep. We were scared. We lived in fear of another strong aftershock.”

She spent days and nights tossing and turning worrying about her future and that of her loved ones in Aleppo – one of the heavily damaged provinces in Syria.

“We have relatives in Aleppo. There are many casualties, many houses collapsed,” she said. “We heard some of them belong to our relatives.”

Ihlas Mohammed said she had heard similar news about her loved ones in a village between Aleppo and Idlib.

“We couldn’t get much news about them,” she said. “There was a war, we escaped, and now this (earthquake) happens. We have nothing,” she said.

‘We are all victims’

Turkish families sheltering with Syrians have shown the futility of trying to stir ethnic and cultural divisions in this restless part of the world.

Turkey became home to the world’s largest number of refugees following an agreement to stem Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015-2016.

But anti-migrant sentiment in Turkey has grown during a time of severe economic crisis that has wiped out people’s savings and left millions struggling to pay food and utility bills. their.

Politicians from all walks of life are promising to start bringing Syrians home in the run-up to the May 14 elections in Turkey.

Turkish mother Aydegul Bitgin said everyone at the mosque is the same.

“We are here with the Syrian refugees, we are all victims,” ​​said the 37-year-old. “There’s nothing we don’t need, baby food, wet wipes, diapers. We leave nothing at home.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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