After protests in rural Aleppo, Attacks on Syrians’ properties in Turkish cities

Properties belonging to Syrian refugees were attacked by Turkish protesters in the city of Kayseri - July 1, 2024 (Abdullah Almousa/ X)

Properties belonging to Syrian refugees were attacked by Turkish protesters in the city of Kayseri - July 1, 2024 (Abdullah Almousa/ X)

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Acts of violence and attacks on Syrian refugees’ properties have escalated in several Turkish cities, in addition to numerous night protests demanding the deportation of Syrians.

The attacks, which took place on Monday, July 1, included the cities of Hatay, Gaziantep, Kilis, Kayseri, and Bursa, according to monitoring by Enab Baladi.

This comes after a wave of anger and protests in northern Syria in response to acts of violence against Syrians witnessed in the city of Kayseri on June 30, following allegations that a Turkish girl child was sexually harassed by a Syrian refugee.

In Kayseri, attacks included the smashing and burning of Syrian refugees’ shops and the destruction of their properties such as cars and motorcycles. The Kayseri governorate later confirmed in a statement on X that the victim child was of Syrian nationality and the relative of the abuser young man who has mental health issues.

In response, various regions in the countryside of Aleppo witnessed the lowering of the Turkish flag from some government institutions, the closure of Turkish postal and shipping centers “PTT,” and the stoning of Turkish military vehicles.

Protesters in Azaz, northern rural Aleppo, prevented the entry of Turkish trucks and cars, while in Ras al-Ain, northwest of al-Hasakah province, demonstrators blocked the way of Turkish soldiers and removed the Turkish flag from some walls in the city.

Video recordings circulated on social media documenting groups attacking and destroying Syrian shops in several Turkish cities, as well as people taking to the streets demanding the deportation of Syrian refugees, chanting nationalistic slogans such as “We are the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.”

Protests also took place in Istanbul on Monday, July 1, in the areas of Sultanbeyli and İkitelli.

The attacks on Syrian properties have sparked reactions from both Syrians and Turks. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that there should be no tolerance for “the cunning of some people” blaming their incompetence on refugees who were forced to leave their homes and countries due to wars and “terrorism.”

The Syrian Islamic Council issued a statement calling on Turkish officials, especially Erdoğan, to fulfill their duty in protecting vulnerable refugees, stating that those who oppress and abandon them are the real losers.

As a measure, Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced the arrest of 67 people who acted unlawfully.

Incidents of attacks on Syrians or their properties in Turkey are recurrent following some incident or the spread of possibly false information.

There are 3,112,683 Syrian refugees residing in Turkey under the “temporary protection” system, according to the latest statistics from the Turkish Presidency of Migration Management on June 27.

 

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