The humanitarian condition for displaced Syrians remains bleak and human suffering has reached world war proportions. As Turkish humanitarian activist Nalan Dal explains, bordering states are incapable of accommodating millions of refugees seeking shelter outside the conflict zone. The escalation of Syria’s humanitarian crisis has been compounded by the expansion of the Islamic State and US air strikes, resulting in a significant increase of Syrian refugees trying to cross the Turkish border.
According to the latest estimate from Turkish authorities, the number of Syrian Kurds who have crossed the border into Turkey, escaping from ISIS in recent weeks, now exceeds 130 000.
Speaking to VOC Drivetime this week, Dal, who works as the international public relations co-ordinator for the Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, said the real number of Syrian Kurds seeking refuge in Turkey far exceeds 130 000. Dal estimates the official number to be around 500 000.
“Officially, there are said to be a total of 1.1 million Syrians currently seeking refuge in Turkey however, as IHH, working around the areas, we can easily say there are 3 million Syrian refugees for sure,” Dal said.
“The numbers are increasing, and there is nothing to stop it. There is an open border policy. The government is trying its best. The numbers from the government are only a tally of those refugees currently housed in their camps.”
The Turkish government considers Syrian refugees guests and not refugees. However, with no visa regulations imposed, problems are likely to occur.
“The people open their shops with no tax and regulations imposed on them. If you recall, around 3 million people from Afghanistan fled to Pakistan and continued with regular businesses without registration and it has caused an upheaval battle which the Pakistani government,” Dal added.
From her personal experience in this crisis, Dal speculates that reaching a possible resolution to the current situation, can take up to 10 years.
“This will not be solved even if the regime falls in Syria. We try our best to provide aid to the farthest areas in Syria where the aid is needed the most. We team up with local NGO’s and have about seventy working in partnership with IHH. We are able to reach the most dangerous areas in Syria through connections that we’ve been able to achieve throughout our years of humanitarian work in the country,” Dal explained. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)