Syrians head to Turkey to buy basic supplies

August 17, 2012, Friday/ 15:33:00/ DEMİRTAŞ İLKAY GÖÇMEN

Some Syrians are purchasing their basic provisions in Turkey, while others have begun importing goods from Turkey since an armed conflict between government forces and the opposition is preventing basic supplies from reaching some cities in the Middle Eastern nation.

After the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) seized a town near Gaziantep, a border province in the southeast of Turkey, goods are being brought into Syria from the Karkamış border crossing. An unnamed source told Today's Zaman that Syrians buy equipment, stoves and gas cylinders in particular and bring them back to their homes in Syria.

These purchases usually take place in the Gaziantep city center and in the Nizip district of the province. The Syrians pile the equipment they purchase in Turkey into trucks and onto the roofs of their cars and bring it back to their houses in Syria, driving across the country via roads that have been seized by the FSA.

A man who came to Gaziantep from Syria, Fuad Ilevin, who trades the basic supplies he purchases in Turkey to Syrians back home, said he usually takes cooking pots, stoves and flour to Syria. “We sell them to Syrian citizens. We take the goods not only to Jarabulus [a Syrian city near the Turkish border] but to other cities as well. Recently, two truckloads of stoves were brought to Syria from here,” he said in remarks to Today's Zaman.

Another Syrian, Ebu Hamza, said he traveled to Turkey to buy his family's basic needs and would be driving back to home to Syria.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been actively engaged in supporting Syrian opposition groups against Assad's regime. Thousands of Syrians who escaped from the armed battles in their country have been placed in refugee camps located in Turkish provinces near the Syrian border. The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey is increasing by the day as violence in the country spreads.

Two weeks ago, the World Food Program and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization said up to 3 million Syrians will need food, crop and livestock aid in the next 12 months as the conflict has prevented farmers harvesting crops.

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