Thousands of Turkmen flee Russian, regime air strikes

Russian and Syrian regime air strikes displace thousands of Turkmen in Syria

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkmens, who had to flee their homes because of the air strikes by the Assad regime and Russia, carry their belongings as they go to Turkey's border in Latakia, Syria on December 2, 2015.

Syrian Turkmen who have fled their homes due to air strikes by Russia and the regime of Bashar al Assad have described their homes as "wrecks."

Thousands of Turkmen, a Turkic ethnic group with close cultural ties to Turkey, have been displaced by the fighting around Bayirbucak. Around 2,000 have recently sought shelter in Turkey.

Many Turkmens who fled their villages are trying to live in and around Yamadi village near the Turkish border in makeshift tents.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, one Turkmen, Hani Hamis, said that their villages had been turned into ruins and that he barely escaped with his child and pregnant wife.

"All regions that they hit are places where civilians live. Our homes were turned into wrecks. Our children died," Hamis said.

"We are fighting for our lives with Turkey's support. May god bless Turkish people," he said.

Fatma Sara, another Turkmen, said that their journey to Turkey was very difficult due to Assad regime and Russian attacks.

She said that the regime would bomb them again if they return to their villages.

Muhammed Cafer, another fleeing Turkmen, also said that the regime killed civilians and bombed mosques, hospitals and schools.

"We will continue to repair the schools for our children's future, just to spite them," he added.

Turkey’s official disaster relief agency, AFAD, has set up a coordination center in Yamadi to organise the distribution of humanitarian aid to affected Turkmen families.

Over the last several days, approximately 2,000 Syrian Turkmen, fleeing the violence in their home country, have reportedly arrived in southern Turkey.

Turkmen are a Turkic ethnic group based largely in Syria and Iraq, where they live alongside large Arab and Kurdish populations. The Turkmen community, which includes both Sunni and Shia Muslims, shares close cultural affinities with the Turkish people.