STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And now we have an update on the crackdown on dissent in Syria. We will see it through the eyes of some of the more than 7,500 Syrians who have managed to flee to Turkey. Turkish officials have restricted access to the camps housing those refugees. But NPR's Peter Kenyon was allowed into one yesterday.
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PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Deep in the farm fields of Turkey's Hatay Province, young Syrian boys sit at desks inside a large tent and gamely try to get their tongues around some Turkish phrases.
GROUP: (Foreign language spoken)
KENYON: The Altinozu camp is sweltering under the sun of a Turkish Indian summer. The camp appears to be well-planned and well-run, right down to the asphalt laid between the rows of white tents. The pavement may be brutally hot today, but come the winter rains, it'll keep the camp from turning into a muddy swamp. Such foresight is seen as necessary as the Syrian uprising stretches into another season with no sign of resolution. Turkey says there are 1,300 people here with more than 6,000 others in six additional camps scattered across the countryside. All of the Syrians who spoke for this story used partial or false names to protect against retaliation later. Refugee Abdel Razzaq says he lost four family members when the army attacked his town, Jisr al-Shughour. When asked what Syrians need now, he said international help.
ABDEL RAZZAQ: (Through translator) God willing, there will be protection. We need help from the foreigners, from the Arabs, we need a no-fly zone because the regime is using its planes and helicopters to destroy us. Where is the help?
KENYON: Outside another tent, Ferdana, a tall woman from Latakia, sits next to a relative smoking tobacco from a water pipe. She says many other families are hiding in the mountains of northern Syria, hoping for a chance to cross. She taps a reporter on the shoulder and asks if she'll be heard in America.
FERDANA: (Through translator) We are begging you to just stop this regime of Bashar al-Assad's. He is killing us. The people are forced to hide or go to another country. He doesn't understand anything but killing. We don't want to be refugees, we want to go home. So please, just stop him.
KENYON: A row of men with pushbrooms sweeps the street in another corner of the camp, where a mock graveyard has been built to ridicule the seemingly moribund international stance towards Syria. A grave has been dug for Russia and China to mark their veto of the latest U.N. Security Council resolution. And a nearby headstone denotes the political demise of the Arab League. But Ghazwan, a Syrian lawyer in the camp, is only too aware that the international rescue for the Libyan rebels followed strong action by the Arab League, the U.N. and others.
GHAZWAN: (Through translator) We don't put our hopes in the Arab leaders. They acted against Gadhafi because he's not normal, they don't like him anyway. And we can't ignore that the international community wanted to intervene in Libya because it has valuable oil resources. We don't have that, so they don't help us.
KENYON: In another of the broiling classroom tents, this one lined with computers, a student who gives her name as Amal recounts how two of her brothers were killed and another arrested before she fled to Turkey. Amal says she wants to go to university in Damascus to study law and international relations. At the moment, though, she finds herself writing poems.
AMAL: (Foreign language spoken)
KENYON: The pretty birds migrate from place to place, she recites, searching for food and a safe shore. And so have we become, flying from our lovely land to Turkey. I dream every day of coming home, to kiss the sand, and feel the flag brush across my face.
AMAL: (Foreign language spoken)
KENYON: Right now that day seems far off. Just down the road, another camp has been built, waiting for the next wave of refugees. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, in the Altinozu camp, southeastern Turkey.
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