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    Syrian refugees at the German Consulate in Istanbul

    Syrian Refugees: 'Europe Does Not Want Us out of Its Fear of Islam'

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    Sputnik Turkiye continues its report on the real lives of Syrian refugees living in Turkey, and has talked to a number of Syrians who have fled the ruined cities of the war-ravaged country for Istanbul. They shared their stories, concerns and hopes for the future.

    Some of the refugees from Syria who've settled in Istanbul intend to journey onward to Europe, while the majority dream of returning home after the war ends in their homeland or otherwise adjust to their new lives in Turkey, says a new report of Sputnik Turkiye.

    Sputnik's correspondent spoke with a number of Syrians who reside in Istanbul, having fled the wreckage of their war-torn country and destroyed cities. Here are their stories.

    Syrian refugee in Istanbul.
    © Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov
    Syrian refugee in Istanbul.

    Every morning there are long queues of Syrian refugees at the entrance to Germany's Consulate General in Istanbul. It has opened a special department which deals specifically with applications from refugees from Syria. Many of them don't speak German, English or Turkish. The Consulate, however, has employed Arab-speaking personnel for them to be able to have a visa applicant interview.

    27-year-old Mohammed has come from Aleppo. He and his sister have come to the German Consulate to apply for a visa. He told Sputnik that the husband of his sister had illegally immigrated to Greece via the Aegean Sea and was able to get into Germany. Hence his sister wants to get visa to reunite with her family.

    Syrian refugees learning Turkish language.
    © Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov
    Syrian refugees learning Turkish language.

    Mohammed, however, told Sputnik that he does not want to travel to Europe as he is quite satisfied with his way of life in Turkey. He is a doctor and is studying Turkish to be able to work in Turkey.

    However, another applicant, 36-year-old Esma, who came to Turkey from the Syrian city of Hama three years ago, said that she is eager to go to Germany.

    "I want to go to Germany because the living conditions are much better there. My children can't study here; they have to work. There are a lot more opportunities there. Of course, we are not sure that we will live much better there, but we want to try our luck," she told Sputnik.

    Syrian refugees learning Turkish language.
    © Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov
    Syrian refugees learning Turkish language.

    Her view is echoed by 44-year-old Mahir, who also came from Aleppo. Here is how he explained his desire to travel to Europe.

    "There are a lot less opportunities in Turkey, that is why I want to move further to Europe. Europe accommodates migrants, provides opportunities for education and employment. Turkey also provides employment to Syrians, however we have to work a lot and are paid little," he said.

    Mahir's sons were able to illegally immigrate to Greece via the Aegean Sea and then traveled to Germany. However part of his family was left in Aleppo.

    Syrian refugees learning Turkish language.
    © Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov
    Syrian refugees learning Turkish language.

    "Life has sent us to different parts of the world. I hope for God to bring us together one day," he said.

    19-year-old Sibe came to Turkey in 2015. Her husband illegally immigrated first to Bulgaria and then to Germany. If the girl is granted a visa, she will be able to reunify with her family and meet her husband in Germany.

    66-year-old Omer from Aleppo said that he first came to the Turkish city of Şanlıurfa and only then traveled to Istanbul with his nephew.

    "I has been in Turkey since July, 2013. I used to work in construction before the war, however there is no work for us anymore. My debt in a grocery store is 3,000 Turkish Liras ($806). It would be nice to travel to Germany, however it is very difficult, since I don't even have a passport. And I won't travel illegally," he told Sputnik.

    He added that he wants to return back home, but Aleppo is destroyed; there is no place for him to return to. He had never thought he would leave Syria.

    37-year-old Meyada came to Istanbul from the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli in 2014.

    "I have never thought I would leave Syria. But Daesh jihadists have burnt my 23-year-old brother alive. After that we fled to Turkey," she said.

    Meyada said she was a teacher at a primary school in Syria and had started teaching in Turkey after she arrrived. However, then she was asked to confirm her right to teach, which she could not do, and she lost the job.

    "My husband worked in construction, but then he fell badly and can't work any longer. We don't have any means of sustaining ourselves and are living at the expense of our acquaintances," she told Sputnik.

    "My children have got used to it here. We won't come back [to Syria]," she added.

    One of her brothers is living in Canada, and another resides in Germany.  Meyada said that she wants to travel to other countries for the sake of her children. She personally would like to return to Syria, but her children have gotten used to Turkey already.

    Sputnik's correspondent then traveled to the Istanbul district of Balat to visit Derdiş Baba, an association which provides social solidarity and aid. There he talked to Syrian refugees who are studying Turkish.

    One of the students, 24-year-old Fatima, came to Istanbul from Aleppo one year ago together with her two children, aged six and nine. She said she is satisfied with her life in the city and sees no sense in moving onward to Europe.

    "Europe does not want us because they are afraid of Islam, while it is good in Istanbul. There are many mosques here," she shared with Sputnik. 

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    Syrian refugees, Germany, Europe, Turkey, Syria, Istanbul
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