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The Syrian Refugee Odyssey - Istanbul
Istanbul
By Mauro Prandelli
15 Apr 2014

What was once a welcoming and supportive reception for Syrian refugees in Turkey has turned to resentment and destitution. As the Syrian war has dragged on, Istanbul, Turkey's economic and touristic hun, has seen the population of destitute Syrians swell. As a result, the patience of the local population and aid from the government is wearing thin. While Istanbul has long been a hub for migrants traveling to and from Europe, Syrians have been trapped in Turkey, as it is almost impossible for them to obtain visas for onward travel to Europe, and many cannot return to Syria out of concern for their safety. Many now find themselves living in squalor with little hope or options for the future. 

One Syrian refugee described their situation in Turkey by saying:

"Life in Turkey is very hard, Syrians cannot work because they do not have the necessary permits and the only solution is to work illegally. There are children who work 15 hours per day to bring to their families a little money which is not even enough to buy bread. When the war is over I want to go back to Damascus, to my family, to my land."

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