A Syrian woman begging on the streets of the city of Gaziantep has made the headlines when her photo showing her eating food she found in a garbage dumpster emerged.
However, her story, which was quickly picked by Turkish media outlets reporting on the drama of millions of displaced Syrians in Turkey, was proven false. It was found that the woman was involved in a cunning scheme to exploit the sympathy of passersby. Eyewitnesses told reporters that she was actually bringing fresh food from home and pretended to fish it out of the dumpster on many occasions.
After her story was published, officials from the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) that oversees camps for Syrians in Turkey contacted the woman, identified only as Amira. AFAD officials tried to transfer her to a camp for Syrians but the woman refused.
Turkey is home to some 1.8 million displaced Syrians and about 250,000 of them reside in 25 camps located in border cities. Syrian beggars are common sight on the streets, as impoverished families often turn to begging. Authorities regularly round up beggars and send them to camps concentrated in the southern and southeastern cities bordering Syria.