Saddening photo shows Syrian refugee trying to get warm from bus exhaust in Istanbul
ISTANBULA photo showing a young female Syrian refugee trying to warm her hands with the heat from the exhaust of a public bus in Istanbul went viral on Nov. 27, revealing the desperate situation for Syrians who have fled their homes due to war.
In the photo, the girl is seen on her knees and extending her hands to the exhaust of a bus, which is stopped at a bus stop in the Tarlabaşı neighborhood near Taksim in central Istanbul.
Millions of people have fled Syria since the eruption of civil war in March 2011, with most taking shelter in neighboring countries Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Around 6 million are displaced within Syria.
Thousands of Syrian Kurds have also flocked to Turkey to escape the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In Turkey alone, over 1.7 million Syrian refugees have been struggling to maintain their lives.
Despite the establishment of refugee camps near the border, the majority of Syrians have moved to big cities and many are living on the streets, where conditions are worsening as winter approaches.
Turkey does not officially call the arrivals from Syria “refugees,” as most do not have official refugee status. Instead, they are known as “guests” and the refugee camps are referred to as “tented cities.”
Nevertheless, the Turkish government has implicitly acknowledged that many Syrian refugees are likely to remain permanently in the country.
A number of civil society organizations have suggested that the emergence of discrimination and xenophobia in Turkish society towards Syrian refugees has been exacerbated by the government’s failure to implement any long-term strategy to deal with them, despite all its hospitality.