Last Update 11:37
Sunday, 22 September 2019

Turkey building refugee camps for Syrian Christians, Kurds

Turkey to build two refugee camps for Syrian minority groups, including Assyrian Christians and Kurds

Reuters , Wednesday 10 Apr 2013
Views: 873
Views: 873

Turkey is building two camps along its far southeastern border with Syria to house a growing number of refugees from Syrian minority groups, mainly Assyrian Christians as well as ethnic Kurds, a government official said on Wednesday.

More 250,000 Syrians fleeing civil war in their homeland have registered in Turkey, most of whom stay in 17 camps along the 900-km (560-mile) border, although Turkish leaders say the total number of refugees is closer to 400,000.

Those who have fled are predominantly ethnic Arabs from Syria's Sunni Muslim majority, most of whom largely support the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, who himself belongs to the Alawite minority of Shi'ite Islam.

Apart from housing refugees, Turkey, which also has a Sunni majority, has thrown its weight behind the rebels, giving them sanctuary, although it denies arming them. This has drawn accusations of sectarianism levelled at the government from Assad as well as Turkish minority groups and opposition parties.

Ankara strongly denies a sectarian or ethnic agenda.

The two tented camps, to be completed in less than a month, are being built in Midyat, a town in southeastern Mardin province some 50 km from the Syrian border, the official from Turkey's foreign ministry said.

One camp with a capacity of 2,500 people will house mainly Assyrian Christians as well as refugees from other Christian denominations. It will be constructed on empty land next to an Assyrian church, which has been donated by its Assyrian owner.

Turkey has its own small Assyrian minority, most of whom live in Mardin and in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city. It was on their request that the camp is being built, the official said.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan recently met Assyrian leaders in Turkey.

The other camp will have a capacity of 3,000 and would house any Syrian Kurds fleeing violence though Arabs could also stay, the official said. Mardin, home to many Turkish Kurds, borders an area of Syria with a large concentration of Syrian Kurds.

Syria's 22 million population is roughly three-quarters Sunni Muslim, which includes Arabs and Kurds, and around 15 percent other Muslim groups, including mostly Alawites but also some Shi'ites and Druze. Some 10 percent are Christian, while Syria is also home to a tiny Jewish community.

Ethnic Kurds make up around 10 percent of the population.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.