istanbul's syrian refugees
It is said that Istanbul is home to over one million Syrian refugees. Exact figures are obscure, and three years into this massive migration some of the refugees have assimilated into far-flung parts of the city, and are less visible.
In the main city thoroughfares Istanbulus have become used to seeing large numbers of those who beg or who roam the streets because there is nowhere to go.
The poorest of these refugees squat near the Suleymaniye mosque in an area so run down that many of the houses are mere shells. People live in these ruins. Warmth is fleeting: blankets draped over gaping sides of buildings or over holes that once were windows. Fires are lit in the garbage-strewn corners of these old buildings, and electricity and running water are scarce. The luckier families may have a small room to themselves but, even here, lack of space means much of their communal living is on the streets. Certainly the children have all claimed their own patch.
The grim and shocking beauty in these communities of newcomers highlights the human tragedy that is being played out.
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