The story of Mohamed Khalil Aissa al Mostapha’ suffering summarizes the harsh and rough conditions that the people of Deir Ezzor are going through, mainly in Turkey

Language / اللغة العربية

Upon the arrival of ISIS in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor, from where Mohamed and his family originate, last summer, the family of Mohamed decided to leave their town of al Shumaytiya and then began looking for a safe place where they might find a job, reboot themselves and restart their lives.

12 year old Mohamed lost his father when at the age of 4. Since then, it has been his mother who has been taking care of him and his 4 brothers. Mohamed now lives with his mother and brother in the Erzin refugee camp, located near the Turkish-Syrian border province of Hatay in Turkey.

The family was employed in Turkey to harvest and pick vegetables (seasonal jobs) during summer, with the arrival of winter, they unfortunately stopped working and as a result, they have not been able to rent a house due to the high prices of rent in Erzin , 
the rental rates have reached more than 200 dollars per month due to the increasing number of Syrian refugees in the region. 

Hence, Mohamed and his family were left with no option but to buy a small tent, which costed them 200 Turkish Liras. They also pay 100 Turkish Liras for each person of the family to the owner of the agricultural land where they have their tent. The area (where Mohamed’s family have their tent) equals exactly the size of the tent, which clearly indicates the amount of the exploitation the Syrian refugees are subjected to.

In addition, the number of tents in the previously mentioned agricultural area exceed seventy, and all the residents are people who come from the western countryside of Deir Ezzor, specifically from the town of al Shumaytiya.

The owner (of the agricultural area) uses only one lamp to lighten each tent, and it costs the tent’s residents 25 Turkish Liras per month for this. It should be noted that many people in these tents are exposed to electrical shocks due to the negligent way the lamps are wired.

The refugees in Erzin camp cannot also afford electric or gel fuel fireplaces as long as they are pricy, on top of that, they have resorted to firewood as a way to keep themselves warm in periods of cold weather in winter. They bring in firewood from the vicinity of the camp’s orchards, regardless of the legal risks, as the Turkish authorities consider the logging as illegal and they fine 3,000 Turkish Liras to anyone attempting to collect firewood.

When the refugees protest against the Turkish authorities, the latter respond by claiming that they (the refugees) do receive coal aid for heating purposes, but in reality the refugees are always registering their names to get coal with no avail, it’s commonly known that coal is only distributed to the Kurds while the rest do not benefit from it, which makes it clear that the distribution of coal is based on racial discrimination due to some corrupt people who are in charge of the Erzin refugee camp.   

Accordingly, they faced a double-edged situation in which they either had to accept to live in winter’s bitter cold or attempt to collect firewood to be subjected to a fine of not more than 3000 Turkish Liras.

Mohammed’s family chose to take risks and went to the neighboring orchards to collect firewood. On Friday morning on 12/18/2015, Mohammed went to collect firewood and was obliged to cross a highway where the speeds of cars exceed 180 km / h, for fear of being caught by the Turkish police.

Mohamed managed to cross the first section of the road and then saw a car coming very quickly from far away, as described by his mother who witnessed the incident, and when he tried to cross the second section of the road he was suddenly hit by a taxi. After that, a number of refugees rushed to the site of the accident and when the taxi driver saw them approaching him, he fled in his car and no one was able to identify him. The Turkish Police arrived to the scene of the accident five minutes later and called ambulance. Mohammed had suffered a life-threatening injury, which caused a severe bleeding inside his head, and passed away before reaching the hospital.

All the info received recently indicates that the murderer of the 12 years old child, Mohamed, has not been identified yet; while the Turkish police refuse to take responsibility for the incident and blame the victim’s family for it.In addition, The Turkish government has shown no reaction yet to this tragic story that claimed the life of an innocent child who attempted to protect his family from the harshness of camp life during winter.

The story of Mohamed is only one of many stories about the suffering of the Syrian people in the refugee camps.


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