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Syrian war changes Turkish border towns

In Turkey's Hatay province, Islamic State militants have come to impact the daily lives of Turkish residents.
Concrete slabs are placed on the Turkish-Syrian border during the construction of a wall in Reyhanli, southern Hatay province April 28, 2014. Turkey has started building a new wall along a fragment of its southeastern border with Syria as it struggles against smuggling, illegal migration and the threat from al Qaeda fighters among Syria's rebel ranks. Picture taken April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Cihan News Agency (TURKEY - Tags: SOCIETY IMMIGRATION CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALE

ANTAKYA, Turkey — For the past month, the news media have monitored the battle for Kobani — the Syrian town with a majority Kurdish population — from the southeastern border town of Suruc. From there, the media have also covered the Kurdish protests in Turkey that have left 40 dead. Yet, in the Turkish province of Hatay, about a 4-hour drive from Suruc, residents kept silent on both matters.

This province, which received the first batch of Syrian refugees, is unique for its diverse social fabric that includes Arab Alawites, Sunnis, Christians and Jews. Here, the groups live harmoniously and respect each other’s customs and traditions. This multicultural society has high rates of literacy and an overwhelming number of doctors and lawyers.

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