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SETF Demands Urgent Protection to Syrian Refugees in Türkiye Amidst Escalating Acts of Violence

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JUL 2, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) expresses grave concern over the recent surge in violence and xenophobia directed at Syrian refugees in Türkiye. Despite its long-standing role in hosting well over three million Syrian refugees, recent and alarming incidents of attacks on Syrian-owned businesses and properties in cities like Gaziantep, Adana, Reyhanli, and Nizip highlight a troubling rise in xenophobic sentiment and pose a great risk and threat on innocent lives.

Given the ongoing and escalating incidents, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attributes to the ‘poisonous discourse’ “fueling xenophobia and hatred of refugees in society”, SETF urges the government of Türkiye to protect the rights and safety of Syrian refugees by taking immediate measures to prevent further attacks, safeguard properties, and ensure the dignity and safety of all Syrian refugees. Additionally, the government must put an end to all proposals and/or intentions to normalize with dictator Bashar al Assad as well as halt all formal and informal forced deportations to northern Syria, which remains unsafe for returnees due to ongoing violence and persecution. Any forced returns would expose individuals to severe danger, and efforts should focus on achieving a comprehensive political transition in Syria, based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254, to facilitate the safe and voluntary return of refugees. 

SETF’s Executive Director, Mouaz Moustafa, commented: “While some have used xenophobia and bigotry for political gain during election cycles, this rhetoric has fueled significant animosity over time towards innocent people. Moreover, recent remarks by the President of Türkiye suggesting the potential normalization with Assad expose these feelings now manifesting in acts of violence. I remain hopeful that such a stance does not become official policy for Türkiye considering its government and people have long supported the Syrian Revolution in its call for dignity, freedom, and democracy, while normalizing relations with a genocidal figure like Bashar al-Assad directly contradicts these values”

Normalizing relations with the ruthless dictatorship of the Assad regime, instead of addressing the root causes of the conflict will only prolong the suffering and instability, and hinder the safe return of refugees. The international community and the Turkish government must prioritize the protection of Syrian refugees and work towards a sustainable, democratic resolution in Syria. Ensuring their safety, rights, and dignity is not only a moral imperative but also essential for regional stability and peace.  


For inquiries, please contact:
Maria Cure
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About the Syrian Emergency Task Force

The Syrian Emergency Task Force is a Syrian-American 501(c)(3) headquartered in Washington, D.C. SETF works tirelessly to bring an end to the killing in Syria through humanitarian initiatives, advocacy and the pursuit of justice and accountability for war crimes. Today, SETF stands as the most notable American organization working on Syria, as evidenced by the impact it has made both on the ground in Syria and the U.S. SETF serves as a resource for education by bringing the voices of the Syrian people to the international stage. From testimonies at the UN Security Council to local grassroots community fundraisers, the team brings together like-minded people who are determined to fight for a safe, and free Syria away from the vicious dictatorship.