“They announced the names of the dead on loudspeakers”
I have been on Turkish soil with my husband and my five children for just over five months now. We are originally from the Idlib region, and this is our second place of exile. We initially left our village for Idlib before we came to Reyhanli, in Turkey.The hotel where I have been working for the past two months is on the street where the attacks happened. The explosions were deafening; it blew out all the glass on the shop fronts, and I froze for a moment before realising what had happened.Video taken just minutes after the two bomb attacks.Everyone here is shocked, and Turkish people are taking their anger out on us. I have been locked up in the hotel with my family since Saturday – we don’t dare to go outside for fear of reprisals. It’s the same for all the Syrian refugees in the city; no one is going outside. Today, the tension has even increased, since they announced the names of the dead on loudspeakers, and we fear people will turn on us again. However, I understand their reaction: we are guests here in their town, and we’ve brought our problems with us.Young Turks in Reyhanli attacking cars with Syrian license plates.At the beginning, we were welcomed with open arms by the Turkish state and by the local population, who did everything to help us. But the mood has changed over the past few months. An attack on the Baba al-Hawa crossing three months ago reminded everyone that the war could spill over the border.
“The Turks are afraid of undercover agents from the Syrian regime”Aid given to Syrian refugees is far from being sufficient, and it’s being reduced more and more. Our situation has deteriorated considerably. Like many Syrians, we rented an apartment in the centre of town. In Syria, my husband was a public servant, so we had a bit of money saved up, but we didn’t think it would have to last us so long. The first month, we paid 300 Turkish Lira in rent [127 euros] but, once wealthy Syrians from Aleppo started arriving, rents and the price of basic goods doubled. There are people out there who are trying to profit from our misery.Today, my husband can’t find any work, and we’re broke. My five children, aged between five and 15, don’t go to school. There are a few schools that do welcome Syrian pupils, but they cost money. The schools in refugee camps are only open to the camp’s residents.The Turkish state at first gave us some money, but they stopped doing so two months ago. The authorities are now coming down hard on Syrian expatriates who don’t have proper identity papers or passports; that wasn’t the case before. The Turks are afraid of undercover agents from the Syrian regime, and they have a reason to be. We’re scared of them, too … but now, we are also scared of the Turks.