Brahimi visits refugees in Turkey
DAMASCUS: UN/Arab league envoy Lakhdar Brahimi yesterday met representatives of 1,300 Syrians at Altinozu camp in Hatay city, located on the border with their violence-racked homeland, in his first encounter since taking over the mission from his frustrated predecessor.
“We hope that their country will find peace again and that they can return to their country as early as possible,” Brahimi said at a meeting with Turkish local officials.
The veteran Algerian diplomat said he was visiting refugee camps in Syrian neighbors to brief the United Nations on the gravity of the situation for the homeless Syrians, according to a Turkish official involved in the meetings. He was welcomed into Altinozu by large crowds of refugees, as many marched in groups and chanted slogans against the embattled Damascus regime: “Free Syria! We will fight till freedom!“
Brahimi was also briefed by Turkish officials at the local governor’s office on the conditions of the refugees and their needs, an issue raised by Ankara government as needing international support.
The Altinozu camp is one of the first refugee camps set up by Turkey soon after the unrest erupted in Syria mid-March 2011, which has already killed 20,000 according to UN figures and forced 250,000 to flee into neighboring countries.
Posted by: Steve White