September 7, 2014
Location: 5 Kilometers west of Ras al-Ain , near al-Azizeya village, Syria
Syrian refugees dodge Turkish Army patrols as they are smuggled from Syria to Turkey. Smuggling has become increasingly difficult as many smugglers are being beaten up or killed by Turkish soldiers. However, there is no other ways to escape Syria, despite the existence of four legal crossings in the area.
- Smuggler as he goes to the border post - shots of “passengers” a term used by the smugglers of refugees and peoples in general - shots of people fleeing after detection by the Turskish border patrol - moving shots of Turkish military vehicle heading to legal border crossing - general views of the border
Interview: Abu Mohamad, Smuggler
"People here want to cross to Turkey. We are in Syria and, as you can see, we have these people who want to get to Turkey. People are dying here, sometimes there is shooting. The road from here is very difficult. On the IS side of the border [Islamic State controlled area], the road is open, but only for Arabs. On the Kurdistan [Syrian-Kurdish controlled] side, the road is blocked by the Kurds.
People here have injured relatives and they are working so hard to be able to afford to eat. Life is very hard here and people are forced to leave. We are trying to smuggle these people into Turkey and it is very hard. A few days ago we smuggled a group of people and they got caught, they started hitting them with the back of the rifle. You cannot pass through legally, so we are trying to smuggle them and people are paying everything they have to pass. What can I tell you, life here is very difficult.
Al-Qamishli passage is closed, Derwaseya passage is closed, Ras al-Ain passage is closed. The other passages in Jarablos and Tel al-Abyad are open, even though they are under the control of ISIS. They closed these passages even though they help our brothers the Kurds.
You just witnessed it, we smuggled people in and they returned them. Every few days you can hear firing and shooting and a few days ago, someone was killed at the border of Turkey. We went today and they started shooting, we go through this on daily basis