Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world (3.2 million). The vast majority are Syrian (3 million) and 10% (260,000) of these are registered in 26 refugee camps; the other 90% are living independently inside Turkey. These 26 camps are located in the south along the Syrian border and termed Temporary Protection Centres (TPC) managed by the Disaster and Emergency Presidency of Turkey (AFAD) within the Disaster Temporary Management System (AFKEN). They are funded by Turkey and the EU to provide rapid assistance in six priority areas: (1) humanitarian, (2) migration management, (3) education, (4) health, (5) municipal infrastructure and (6) socio-economic support. Refugees living in these protection centres arrive with very little except maybe an injury for which they need specialist healthcare. Those who travelled together are usually placed together but the priority is to provide shelter, medical care and education not to attend to the finer social aspects of keeping families or communities together. So these refugees are grateful for the protection despite feeling disconnected from their neighbours and in many cases profoundly homesick. Mohamed Al Nuaime is the General Manager for the Association for Syrian Refugees – the voice of Syrian refugees in Turkey. He and his team have been collating information about the protection centres and liaising with Turkish authorities to address any issues arising. These centres range in their quality of provision and here he laments the conditions faced by refugees in some of the camps while applauding others as an example they should all strive towards.
Al Kammouna IDP camp, Sarmada, rural Idleb 05/05/16 after an aerial bombing raid by the Assad regime. Image circulated on Twitter by @SyrCoalition
[Read More ]
Camps for displaced people inside Syria are mainly located all along its northern border concentrated around Aleppo and Idleb. This includes Al Kammouna IDP camp, which is a part of the Sarmada cluster that was bombed on 05/05/16 by the Assad regime killing at least 30 people; a tragedy that may have been prevented if this border region had been established as a 'safe zone' as advocated by Turkey's President Erdoğan. Plans have now been put in operation to build permanent homes along the Syrian side of the border with Turkey that are safer by virtue of their location. But this is only the edge of the conflict - the international community, sickened by reports of unremitting bombardment of civilian areas all over Syria propose 'no fly zones' and 'no bombing zones'.
Here I debate the relative merits of different models for protecting civilians with military advisors and policy makes.