Being a refugee is no doubt one of the most traumatic human crises, with people caught between danger at home and loss of identity in a strange land.
Fear of persecution has led millions of Syrians to flee their homes and seek safety in strange societies, where they may be isolated, different, and often impoverished. They find themselves in countries with new circumstances, languages and customs, where finding a house or even a shelter becomes one of the most important priorities.
Mohammed, who recently fled to Istanbul, is no exception. The $300 he brought with him from Syria is not enough for accommodation in the one star hotel where he stayed for several days. Therefore, in order not to waste time, Mohammed took his friend, Ghiath's advice, who advised him to see a Syrian real estate agent, Safooh. He told Mohammad he was a friend of Ghaith’s and told him said repeatedly that "away from home Syrians are brothers, we have only each other for support”.
Safooh told Mohammed about the difficulties he might face and suffer from if he goes to the Turkish real estate agents. According to Safooh, Turkish real estate agents and home owners see Syrians as just terrorists.
A furnished room, in an average house shared by young Syrians in the area of Aksaray is rented for about 300 TL ($150). That was the offer from Safooh, accepted by Mohammed without discussion. However, after moving into the house, Mohammed was surprised to learn that he has to share his room with another Syrian man, and learned from his room-mates that Safooh has rented three houses from Turkish real estate brokers himself, only to then sublet the rooms again to young Syrians at inflated prices, taking advantage of the refugees who needed houses as soon as possible for maximum profit.
Mohammed concluded saying that "necessity is the mother of invention”, a proverb used by some Syrians who entered the real estate business and created a mini real estate market to serve the Syrians.
More than 9.3 million people in Syria are internally displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, while more than 2.8 million people have fled to neighboring countries. The crisis is deteriorating rapidly pace and threatening the whole region with a refugee explosion, UNHCR has said.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer