Some 30,000 Syrian children have been born in Turkish cities where there are refugee camps since the beginning of the war more than three years ago. Another 30,000 Syrian babies are believed to have been born in various other provinces of Turkey.
As of August 2014, some 1,370,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Turkey since the civil war began in Syria. Out of these, 220,000 people were accommodated in 24 refugee camps set up in 10 provinces.
According to a UNICEF report, 5.5 million children have been affected by the civil war in Syria; while 10,000 children have died. A total of 8,000 children have lost their parents and family in the civil war.
More than 1.2 million children, 450,000 of them in Turkey, have left their country to become refugees in neighboring countries.
220,000 refugees in camps
According to information provided by officials of the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD), about 30,000 babies have been born in these camps or in the cities outside camps. The births of these children cannot be registered in their own countries, but AFAD recorded them so that they can enjoy some rights, especially basic health services. The children have also been provided identification cards.
On the other hand, there is no clear information about the number of babies born outside the refugee camps. Officials believe another 30,000 babies have been born to Syrian refugee families in other provinces of Turkey.
The children born in camps have become hope for their families and most of them have been given the Arabic names for spring, peace and hope. Many families have given their children Turkish names to show their gratitude to Turkey.
More than 25,000 refugees live in the tent city called the Süleyman Şah Social Facilities in the border town of Akçakale set up in August 2012. Pregnant women have routine health checks and are taken to Şanlıurfa Hospital for births. Baby food, diapers and a cradle are provided to the families after birth.
In Akçakale, in the first eight months of this year, 926 babies were born. The number of babies born since the camp was set up in August 2012 is 4,001. Some of them have left the camp.
The newest resident of the camp is an 11-day-old baby girl named İlef.
Also, Abdülkerim and Emel Vardi’s second child, a baby boy named Leys Vardi, was born on May 1. The couple are thankful to Turkey and they said they were safe here. “We are so used to here, we feel like we are Turkish. But we want to go back to our country.”
Another couple, Amir and Meryem Mirshagh, came from Syria with their seven children last year, and their eighth was born on May 22. Amir Mishagh said, “Our children now speak Turkish. We are waiting for the day peace will come to Syria.”
Syrian Teheni Gazel is just 20 years old, but she already has two children, the second one born in Turkey. She and her husband live in Reyhanlı in Hatay, and they named their second baby after First Lady Emine Erdoğan.
The 24 camps in Turkey include Hatay (Altınözü, Boynuyoğun, Apaydın, Yayladağı-1, Yayladağı-2), Gaziantep (İslâhiye, Karkamış, Nizip-1, Nizip-2), Kilis (Öncüpınar, Elbeyli, Seve), Şanlıurfa (Ceylanpınar, Akçakale, Harran, Viranşehir), Osmaniye (Cevdetiye, Düziçi), Kahramanmaraş, Mardin (Midyat, Nusaybin), Adıyaman, Adana (Sarıçam) and Malatya.