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Security Crackdown Raises Fear Among Syrians in Gaziantep

The usually crowded streets appeared almost empty as Syrians were afraid to leave their homes and move around the city as usual, Enab Baladi says.
Security Crackdown Raises Fear Among Syrians in Gaziantep

“I swear to God I have my (Kamlak), but I forgot it at home,” said a Syrian refugee, stopped by police in Gaziantep, to Syrian lawyer Waad al-Qadi who was present at the scene. The refugee was trying to prove her legal residence in the city.

Turkey’s current security campaign is focusing on Gaziantep, the second city after Istanbul in terms of the number of Syrians under the “temporary protection” regime, with more than 429,000 Syrians residing there.

The usually crowded streets appeared almost empty as Syrians were afraid to leave their homes and move around the city as usual.

The security campaign and the presence of numerous Turkish police cars and officers have increased the concerns of both Syrian violators and those with regular residence papers. Reports have circulated about the deportation of people holding a “temporary protection” card (Kamlak) for simply forgetting to carry it while leaving their homes. These reports have been confirmed by eyewitnesses to Enab Baladi.

Arrest despite the presence of Kamlak

The young Syrian’s attempts to convince the policeman to see a picture of her Kamlak on her phone or to go to her house, just minutes away, to retrieve it were unsuccessful, according to lawyer Waad Qadi, who was on the same street and reported to Enab Baladi.

The lawyer recounted that the young woman eventually tried to appeal to the police, assuring them that her children were home alone. However, the police refused to leave her or accompany her to fetch the Kamlak and took her in their car with the aim of deporting her to Syria.

After losing hope of being released, the woman asked a young man who was with her to take care of her children and bring them home, according to Qadi.

The streets are empty 

Fears of the campaign and increased scrutiny have prevented Syrian refugees under “temporary protection” from roaming the city. Syrian refugee Doaa (who preferred not to give her full name due to security concerns) said that although she carries the Kamlak of the same city, she does not dare to go out even to nearby shops to buy household necessities for fear of being deported or the police fabricating a pretext to facilitate this.

Doaa told Enab Baladi that she had stayed home for four days, relying on her Turkish neighbour in the same building to care for her needs and bring her essentials from the market. She noted that she would never forget the neighbour’s humanitarian attitude, as she did not expect such attention, especially since her neighbour is not obligated to check on her daily.

At the same time, initiatives by Syrians have spread over the past few days on social media, targeting people unable to leave their homes to help them secure necessities. Meanwhile, the streets of Gaziantep appear empty of residents.

The security campaign in the city continues, coinciding with a wave of attacks on the property of Syrians in several Turkish cities, which began in Kayseri on June 30 and have since decreased in intensity.


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.

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