At the main square on the road linking the town of Sarmada and Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, north of Idleb in northwestern Syria, Ali sits with other young men awaiting anybody that could call him to carry furniture or any other kind of a job that could make him earn a living.
Ali al-Muhammad, 33, who was forcibly deported with his family three months ago from Turkey to Idleb, said that he usually returns to his tent empty-handed owing to lack of job opportunities.
Nearly a year and a half ago, Turkey has been working to deport Syrians from its soil to areas under the control of armed opposition factions known as the Syrian National Army (SNA), and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS – formerly al-Nusra Front) in the countryside of Idleb and Aleppo in northwest Syria.
Since January 2022, nearly 14.870 people have been deported from Turkey through Bab al-Hawa to Idleb, according to exclusive data obtained by North Press from the management of the border crossing.
Al-Muhammad, an IDP from the city of Rastan, north of Homs, indicated that he had never imagined his status would worsen after being deported from Turkey. Al-Muhammad shared a house with another man deported with him for nearly a month ago before securing a tent in a camp close to Sarmada.
He entered Turkey illegally in 2018 along with his wife and child and settled in the city of Mersin. Early in July, he found a job in Istanbul. On his way to the city, he was stopped by the Turkish police. All Syrian passengers onboard the bus were all deported to Idleb. Al-Muhammad, along with his four-membered family, found himself in Idleb too.
Turkey seeks to deport all Syrians by 2023, according to a pledge recently made by Turkish Minister of Family and Social Services Derya Yanik.
According to Syrian refugees living in Turkey, even families that have temporary protection cards are deported, not to mention the harassment they face in work and moving from one province to another.
In a report published a week ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Turkish authorities arbitrarily arrested, detained and deported hundreds of Syrian refugees to Syria in the second half of 2022.
The HRW quoted tens of deportees or those threatened with deportation as saying Turkish officials arrested them at home, workplaces and in the streets and detained them in dire conditions where they were beaten and maltreated. Detainees were forced to put their signatures onto documents under voluntary return and return under the force of arms.
Yassin al-Kharboutli, 28, shares the same plight as al-Muhammad since he was deported to Idleb early in October. He has not found a job yet to earn a living.
Al-Kharboutli, who resides right now with several young men deported from an unfurnished house in the city of Idleb, said, “Any job here does not exceed 50 Turkish liras as maximum. This could hardly suffice a person alone. There are no permanent jobs. In a week, we could work one day.”
This article was 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.