Homesick Syrian refugees welcomed 2013 in their makeshift tents at Turkey’s Yayladagi camp as they wished for peace and freedom in the New Year on Tuesday (January 01).
Turkey hosts about 150,000 Syrians in camps, while tens of thousands of unregistered Syrians live in Turkish border towns and villages, according to Turkish officials.
“It is true that I now live in this small room having left our big house back home but now at least I feel free. Now I know what it feels like to be a free man despite the tragedy that is going on in Syria. I feel I have dignity and hopefully we will return to Syria with God’s help,” said Abu Yousef, one of the refugees.
Another man in the camp said he longed for peace in his country and a better 2013.
“I hope peace will be upon our martyrs, and our prisoners will be free and our wounds will be healing in 2013. We wish to return to our beloved Syria, our homeland this year and we hope to get our freedom back after toppling Bashar al-Assad,” said another refugee, Waleed al-Rahman.
An estimated 45,000 people have been killed in the revolt, which started in early 2011 with peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms but turned into an armed uprising after months of attacks on protesters by security forces.