Al Jazeera World

Syria: So near, so far

Five Syrian refugees in Turkey reveal their hopes, fears and why their homeland feels like a world away.

Last updated: 23 Jul 2014 09:50
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Filmmaker: Ahmet Yurtkul

Syria's civil war has been raging for three years, leaving hundreds of thousands displaced, injured or dead. Two-hundred-and-forty thousand Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey in the past three years. Fifteen thousand of them have come to a camp at Öncüpinar in Kilis province, right next to the Syrian border.

Syria: So near, so far follows the daily lives of five Syrians in Öncüpinar, struggling to come to terms with life in exile, in an alien environment, cheek-by-jowl with thousands of others. It is about their concern for their own and their families' futures - and what Syria means to them as their country continues to be torn apart.

Hisham Masry


"Being in exile is very difficult. This place is like a prison for me. You only really feel at ease in your own country."


Hassan Mustafa

"One of my nephews died recently. A few days later, another. My own brother died in May. Three of my family in two months. This news is common for us .... If the war ends, Assad's regime collapses and security is restored with no one like Assad in charge, I'll go back to Syria."

Jamal Ahmed Feydo

"The term 'home' has a deep meaning. It's what you care about the most. Home is life .... I'm a foreigner, a refugee. Exile is impossible to define. Being away from our homeland is beyond description. No words can describe it."

Mohammed Hashom

"We came to stay here for few days. We were planning to go back home once everything settled down. But we're still here."

Rawda Nour Jomaa

"We're a family of nine here. My brothers crossed the border and are now fighting on the other side. They visit us regularly .... We are far away from our homes, but we feel at home here. We have escaped the war."


Editor's note: The original Al Jazeera Turk title for this film was Uzak,  meaning "Distant". The Al Jazeera English title reflects the fact that the camp is only just over the border with Turkey and that, although the physical distance between their temporary and original homes is slight, the emotional distance could not be greater.

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