Three Syrian women experienced a distressing incident on Sunday in the Gedez area of Izmir, a western city in Turkey. A video captured inside a bus and widely shared on social media depicted a harrowing scene where the women were subjected to physical violence and verbal abuse. In the video, passengers, including a woman, were seen assaulting the Syrian women at the front of the bus, seemingly without any apparent cause. Disturbingly, voices could be heard instructing them to “Leave and go home” in Turkish.
Following this altercation, a group of passengers on the bus intervened and forcibly removed the Syrian women and their children from the vehicle. In a subsequent scene, the women, dressed in traditional attire, were seen outside the bus with a stroller by their side, highlighting the distressing ordeal they endured.
The incident, which has garnered widespread attention on social media, has elicited strong reactions, particularly because it occurred in one of the primary strongholds of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Turkish journalist Adam Ozkosa shared the video, expressing his outrage: “The reprehensible act of assaulting Syrian women in front of their children in Izmir, followed by their forced removal from the bus, is truly distressing. Even more heart-wrenching is witnessing a Syrian woman in tears, leaning on a stroller. We must not allow the actions of a few to reflect on all of us.”
Elif Shahin, a writer associated with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), also posted the video and questioned the perpetrators: “There is no barrier between the cries of the oppressed and God. Are you not ashamed by the sight of a mother shedding tears as she pushes a stroller? And what about the frightened children watching? Shouldn’t you fear the consequences of the law?”
Activist Taha al-Ghazi, who specializes in asylum and immigration matters, commented on this incident, which sadly is not an isolated occurrence in Turkey. He pointed out that the practice of making sweeping accusations against Syrian refugees, using hate speech, and threatening them with deportation and return procedures has contributed significantly to a climate of “instability” and anxiety over the past decade. Moreover, this discourse has negatively impacted the social integration of refugees and increased their vulnerability to racist crimes and attacks.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.