Syria's poor suffer while fleeing civil war

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 28 2012 5:35 p.m. MDT

In this Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 photo, internally displaced Syrians at the Syrian side of the Bab Al-Salam crossing border as they wait to cross to one of the refugee camps in Turkey, in the town of Azaz on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. Thousands of Syrians who have been displaced by the country's civil war are struggling to find safe shelter while shelling and airstrikes by government forces continue. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

Associated Press

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After Turkey closed its borders Sunday to Syrian refugees, a torrent of news articles hit the Internet detailing the unique challenges refugees and their destination nations are confronting.

Liz Sly of the Washington Post reported, "A surge in the number of Syrians seeking sanctuary from their country’s soaring violence prompted the Turkish government to halt the flow of refugees at two key border crossings Sunday amid an escalating humanitarian crisis that is swamping Syria’s neighbors and intensifying pressure for international intervention."

Along those same lines, the Associated Press' Suzan Fraser wrote, "Turkey has so far taken in more than 80,000 Syrians, and all nine Turkish refugee camps along the border are full. Until recently, newcomers were being housed in schools, dormitories or sports centers near the border while Turkish authorities scamper to construct four new camps that will increase Turkey's capacity to 100,000 refugees."

NPR illustrated the fact that Syrian "refugees" are almost always poor people: "(Syria's) poor are sheltered in camps built along the frontier by the Turkish government. The rich and the middle class drive across the legal border and find their own shelter. … 'We have money, so we came through the official border,' says Abu Hussein, a professor from Aleppo. He left three weeks ago and has settled in an apartment complex where cars with Syrian license plates filled the parking lot."

The Christian Science Monitor reported about a potential international solution to the ongoing refugee crisis. "Syria’s neighbors will be looking to a high-level United Nations meeting this week to find ways to address Syria’s humanitarian crisis without simply leaving it to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and others in the region to take on. … Turkey will press for an internationally backed solution that allows uprooted Syrians to remain safely on their side of the border (because) Turkey already has received its 'threshold' of refugees, regional experts say."

J.G. Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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