Syrian refugees give strong support to Kilis' Nobel bid

Syrian refugees say that Turkey’s southern border province of Kilis, which hosts a refugee population greater than its own native population, deserves a Nobel Prize

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Syrian refugees seen in Turkey's southern province of Kilis on Feb 25, 2016.

Syrian refugees have been backing various calls to nominate Kilis, a southern Turkish province, for a Nobel Prize because of its role in helping over 100,000 people who have fled the brutal civil war across the border.

Kilis has seen its population of nearly 90,000 doubled and is now additionally hosting 127,000 refugees.

Sharif Sheik, who resides in the city of Elbeyli’s refugee camp in Kilis Province which hosts 24,000 refugees, told Anadolu Agency that the Turkish government and Kilis residents have treated Syrian refugees "like a brother."

"Turks shared their bread and even homes without expecting anything in return, we back Kilis' nomination for the Nobel and, God willing, it will get the nomination and win," said Sheikh.

On Monday, the US State Department’s Population, Refugees and Migration Office (PRM) also praised Kilis, which had been put forward for a Nobel Prize by an MP from Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for hosting a large number of refugees and treating them well.

"One Turkish town has done so much for Syrian refugees it’s up for the Nobel Peace Prize," the PRM official account tweeted, sharing a link of a story on Kilis published on the website of Public Radio International, a Minneapolis-based American public radio organisation.

Ahmad Zamut, who came to Kilis three years ago, said Syrians had formed "very good" friendships with local people and received a lot of support from them.

Stressing that the population of Kilis was now outnumbered by the incoming Syrian refugees, Zamut said, "Kilis deserves this nomination."

Farah Reslan told Anadolu Agency that Syrians had also sought shelter in Jordan, Lebanon and European countries, but could not live in the comfort they have currently found in Turkey.

"Kilis’ people have not left us alone. The prize should go to them [because] they deserve it," said Reslan.

Syrian refugees escaping the violence in their country fled Syria in large numbers following the escalation of the Syrian Civil War in 2012.

One of their most preferred destinations was neighbouring Turkey, which hosts the most Syrian refugees in the world according to the registration records of the United Nations.

Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion of its own resources on the refugees it hosts, who number more than 2.7 million.

TRTWorld, AA