Turkey’s offered 83,000 people refuge from the civil war in Syria in 14 camps set up along its border. The Altinozu camp was one of the first set up not long after the conflict started back in March last year. Today, for the first time, the new UN envoy Lakdar Brahimi arrived in the Turkish province of Hatay to meet some of those displaced people.
Brahimi came from peace talks in Cairo. The city hosted a contact group meeting involving high-level representatives from Egypt, Iran and Turkey. The envoy landed at the airport for a 24-hour trip, which will include peace talks and a tour around the Altinozu camp, which holds one-thousand refugees.
First Brahimi was taken to the offices of one of Turkey’s top governors, Celalettin Lekesiz, where the envoy said: ''We hope that their country will find peace again and that they can return to their country as early as possible.”
Then, later at the camp, he met and listened to the harrowing stories of those, who’d fled Syria with only the clothes on their back. Brahimi said it appeared refugees were being treated well in the camp. He was greeted by crowds of Syrians, marching in groups and chanting slogans against the Damascus regime: "Free Syria! We will fight till freedom!"
Despite accusations by Syria that Turkey was allowing thousands of Muslim extremists access to their war-torn country, this UN envoy appears to have won the battle of hearts and minds and become a symbol of hope among these Syrian refugees at least.
Written and presented by Marverine Cole.