With camps full, Syrian refugees forced out on the streets

(CBS News) KILIS, Turkey -- On a square of cardboard in the dirt, just a hundred feet from the border, we met Iman. She told us she fled Syria three weeks ago after her five-month-old daughter was killed.

Iman fled Syria three weeks ago after her five-month-old daughter was killed.
Iman fled Syria three weeks ago after her five-month-old daughter was killed.
CBS News

"How can I speak of it?" she said. "My baby was sleeping. A shell hit the house, and a piece of shrapnel went straight into her heart."

Iman and her family are now safe from the shelling but struggling to survive in a country that has been overwhelmed by the flood of Syrians trying to escape the war.

Refugee camps fill up as soon as they are built, leaving many families out on the streets.

"The Turkish police told us we have to leave. They said, 'Take your tents and be out of here,'" Iman told us. "Where are we supposed to go? We have no place to go."

For refugees in Turkey, any park or garden can be a makeshift camp, any free patch of land a temporary home.
For refugees in Turkey, any park or garden can be a makeshift camp, any free patch of land a temporary home.
CBS News

For refugees like Iman, any park or garden can be a makeshift camp, any free patch of land a temporary home.

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This isn't a refugee camp, it's just the place where these people ended up. And now they have no choice but to try to make some type of life for themselves, because they simply don't know how long they will be here.

At a local mosque overflowing with children, we met nurse Yassir Najjar, who told us that 120 Syrian families now live here.

Watch: Family flees Syria for third time, below.

"There's chaos because it's so crowded," he explained. "Fifty people sleep here. Another 50 people there."

There is little food and no running water. Many of the children are suffering from skin infections and diarrhea.

"We sleep on top of each other. That's why we have many diseases here," he said. "There are no bathrooms."

No one knows how long the Turkish authorities will allow them to stay. For now, only one thing about their future is certain: as long as the war that drove them from their homes rages on, there is no going back.


  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News

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