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10,000-Strong Syrian Refugee Backlog at Turkish Border

More than 200,000 Syrians have fled the savage civil war ripping apart their homeland this year. Now 10,000 are waiting to enter Turkey.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/6/2012, 12:45 PM

Young Syrian refugee on his way to Turkey
Young Syrian refugee on his way to Turkey
Reuters

More than 200,000 Syrians have fled the savage civil war ripping apart their homeland over the past year, with 10,000 waiting to enter Turkey.

Over the past month alone, at least 100,000 fled the country, according to the United Nations – comprising 40 percent of the total number of refugees since the conflict began.

Up to now, more than 80,000 Syrians have been absorbed in Turkey's southeastern region, where tensions have simmered for decades with its minority Kurdish population.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced last month a decision by Ankara that the country would cap its hospitality to Syrian refugees at 100,000.

All nine Turkish refugee camps along the border at this point are full, and authorities have been scrambling to build four more in order to hold the remaining 20,000 refugees the country is willing to accept.

Meanwhile, at least 10,000 of those are still stuck on the Syrian side of the border, with Turkey's Red Crescent organization providing services while they wait to cross over.

One official added that Turkey has tightened its criteria for acceptance as well, and is carrying out more stringent security checks on those entering the country, in order to screen out potential Kurdish rebels who might add to Ankara's headaches with Kurdish separatists.

In addition, there are concerns that foreign radical Islamist jihadists may be using the porous Turkish border to move in and out of Syria as well.