They cannot return home, just as they cannot leave Syria.
The conflict in Syria has claimed an estimated 60,000 lives, according to a UN statement released on Janunayr 2nd, and displaced nearly half a million, with no end in sight. It is widely considered one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist at the moment. Documentary photojournalist and Matador Ambassador Cengiz Yar is currently back in Turkey, having just returned from a week embedded with a militia in Aleppo. This is his first in a series of dispatches.
...in Syria near the Turkish border town of Kilis. The camp currently holds over 4,000 people and last week ran out of new tents to distribute. Refugees must now share or sleep in the open. Over 300 people are currently sleeping on the floor of a battered mosque, huddled around a few small stoves. Blankets are scarce, and in the middle of winter people cannot stay warm. Two children died this week from the cold.
...with one of his four children, stands outside his tent. He says he and his family of eight fled the Syrian city of Mara after a scud missile destroyed their home and those of their neighbors. Stories like this are common; many of the refugees fled the regime's bombing campaigns. Ibrahim's biggest concern now is keeping his family warm. They only have a few blankets and no wood left to burn. He has no options outside of the refugee camp. Like many of his neighbors, he has no papers to cross the border into Turkey and no home to return to.
The camp has only...
...a small number of healthcare workers who are far too few to treat everyone. They see an average of 300 people a day, far fewer than necessary for a camp without clean water or basic sanitation services.
...at the stump of a tree for firewood. The few trees surrounding the camp have been cut to their stumps as people scramble for anything to burn to make it through the cold winter nights.
As the war...
...in the country enters its third year, people continue to flee to Turkey in search of peace. Many are stuck without paperwork as government facilities across Syria have stopped operating. They cannot return home, just as they cannot leave Syria.
...are distributed in the camp daily by the aid organization Syria Care (which I was unable to verify is credible, but they appear to be the only group actively working here). There are only a few bathrooms around the camp of over 4,000.
The Free Syria flag...
...at the border crossing to Syria.
...holds her mentally handicapped son's hands. His father died in an airstrike, and at 15 years old he has no papers, making him unable to cross into the safety and care of the Turkish camps. The Syrian camp of Bab Al Salameh has only a few healthcare workers and none specializing in mental illness.
...Hussain poses for a photo. His eye was damaged by shrapnel during a tank attack on his city. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he said the only thing he wants is his eye back.
...over the Bab Al Salameh refugee camp in Syria. As the camp continues to grow, resources have run thin.
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Based out of Chicago, Cengiz is a documentary photographer and freelance photojournalist whose work has been featured in publications around the world. His photography focuses on human conflicts, both violent and peaceful, and aims to encourage understanding by fostering interest and making the alien familiar. Follow him on Twitter at @cengizyar and on Instagram @hfwh.