Some of the children of Syrian families who fled the civil war in their country are struggling to survive on the streets of Turkey's western province of İzmir.
While those with better finances live in cheap hotels, the rest struggle to survive, sleeping on sidewalks, including children, the elderly and the sick.
While playing in a city square, 9-year-old Muhammed Ashkar told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he had to come to Turkey with his two brothers and his mother following the death of his father. Stating that one of his brothers went to Turkey's northwestern province of İzmit and the other is en route to Germany, Mohammed said he stays in a little hotel with his mother. "My mother wanders around. Sometimes, she gives me two or three Turkish liras ($0.66-0.99) to buy food ... I am happy in Turkey but I need a father. I also wish for shoes and a ball."
Isa Shaydi, 13, who also escaped the violence in Syria, said he is looking for a job. Speaking to AA in front of a local mosque, he said that he stays with relatives: "Sometimes I sleep on the street. I feel cold, but what can I do? I would work if I had a job."
Abdulkadir Dakar, a Syrian man from Aleppo staying in a mosque courtyard with his children, said the biggest concern of Syrian families is not "drowning in the sea," but being conned and losing the $1,000 fee smugglers charge for illegal crossings.
Dakar said he wants to stay in Turkey but he cannot find a job: "Bombs strike Aleppo every day. Our house is gone, our store is gone. We will go to Germany. We want to cross to Greece by boat. We are scared, but we have to. If we stayed in Syria we would have died in a bomb strike."
Syria's devastating civil war, now in its fifth year, has claimed more than 250,000 lives, according to U.N. figures, and made the country the world's single-largest source of refugees and displaced people.
Greece, close to İzmir, is a transit route for Syrian refugees trying to reach northern European countries. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 200,000 Syrian people have reached Greece so far.
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