World Bulletin / News Desk
Unofficial statistics claim that as many as a million Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey, where they are now beginning their new lives.
In Istanbul alone, there are believed to be over 150,000 Syrian refugees. They have already established 5 radio stations in Turkey, with the main one being based in Istanbul’s Levent district, called Sout Raya (the Sound of Raya). They also have more than 30 newspapers and have opened 6 schools in Istanbul, as well as 50 schools in refugee camps around the country.
While some of the refugees have arrived in Turkey looking for work and camping in tents set up in empty land, others have already begun a new life, getting involved in various international non-governmental organizations. Sout Raya was established by a group of journalists escaping from the civil war. Most employees at the radio station have served time in prison, where they were tortured. They hope to expand from simply being an online based radio station and eventually place themselves on the radio frequencies of Turkey, Syria and Jordan.
There are 14 workers in the headquarters, while 14 other reporters also work on the ground in Damascus, Aleppo, Idlib and other Syrian cities. The general manager of the radio, Firas Fayyad said ‘If any of our reporters get caught they would be killed. For this reason we must be very careful.’
Having spent 5 months in a Syrian prison, Fayyad, who later escaped to Turkey, said ‘We do not support any particular political party. We try to focus on the conditions and drama suffered by the Syrian people in our programs.’
The Syrian newspapers in Turkey try to explain the reality of the situation in Syria. There are now more than 30 Syrian publications in Turkey, from amateur photocopy printouts to professional magazines. Sada al Sham is the most popular of these magazines. Journalist Absi Smesem, the general manager of the publication, fled to Turkey at the onset of the year with his family. ‘After the civil war started in Syria, our biggest need was for a media outlet that would portray the reality on the ground. We released this publication to meet this need,’ he said. The publication has 30 employees and 13 reporters in Syria.
The 50 Syrian schools in Turkey, including the 6 schools in Istanbul, all provide education according to the Syrian educational curriculum up to high school level. The head of the Syrian Refugee Students School, Ola Ragipoglu, said that the Syrian opposition was developing an education council to bring all the schools under its umbrella.Last Mod: 14 Kasım 2013, 13:41