Refugee camps were set up but Sahlabji, who arrived in 2012, steered clear of the tents. Now almost half of Turkey’s 22 government-run camps for Syrians have closed, and although some residents have returned to Syria, most have stayed and moved to permanent housing across the country. Despite political rhetoric to the contrary, and with the support of international donors, Turkey is quietly paving the way to integrate many of its nearly 4 million Syrians – by far the biggest group of refugees who have spilled over Syria’s borders during the eight-year-old civil war. Absorbing even a portion of such numbers into its society and workforce however poses a significant challenge, especially as the economy stutters and unemployment rises. Sahlabji now works as a doorman in a private high school, where his son Ahmed is a janitor. His daughter is studying for university where she hopes to take architecture, while another son and his family has been granted Turkish citizenship. Seven years after they fled the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Sahlabjis are not planning to return home, as originally envisioned, but are instead putting down new roots. “We’re hopeful we can create a future for our children,” Ahmed said…. Read full this story
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