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Hostility toward Syrians could explode in Turkey, ICG warns

A new report by the International Crisis Group warns that tension and violence involving Syrian refugees in Turkey is underdocumented and growing worse.
A Syrian refugee mother puts her baby to stroller in Nizip refugee camp, near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RC11925C4BE0

Turkey is rightly commended for hosting over 3 million Syrian refugees fleeing the nearly seven-year-old conflict that continues to wrack their country in new and ghastly iterations. Acts of overt aggression against the “guests,” as Turkey formally labels them, are astonishingly rare. But a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) published this week raises alarm bells over their future.

The report, titled “Turkey’s Syrian Refugees: Defusing Metropolitan Tensions,” is based on research in refugee-dense neighborhoods of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, where many Syrians are striving to support themselves through informal jobs in competition with new arrivals from the rest of the country, notably ethnic Kurds. Thus, the potential for anti-refugee violence is the highest in Turkey’s three biggest cities, which host over a fifth of the Syrians.

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