Mardin monastery becomes shelter for Syriac refugees

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Vercihan Ziflio?lu
Syriac refugees are temporarily taking shelter in a Mardin Monastery. DHA photo
Syriac refugees escaping clashes in Syria are temporarily taking shelter in Mardin’s Deyrülzafaran Monastery before finding a way to a third country, the metropolitan bishop for Diyabak?r and Mardin, Saliba Özmen, has told the Daily News.

Deyrülzafaran Monastery is the first Syriac foundation in Turkey to welcome the Syriac refugees, who have been avoiding refugee camps over security concerns.

The Syriac Union Party, Syriac National Council and Turkey Syriac Associations Federation members have recently conducted meetings with Ankara officials, including officials from the prime ministry, Özmen said, adding that Ankara agreed to provide support.

“We told them of our limited resources and we asked for financial support. Ankara promised to help and will soon begin providing financial support,” Özmen said.

Hospitals have also offered to help the monastery with the increasing number of incoming refugees, with the governor’s office working with health service officials to provide assistance.

There is no current need for a camp, according to Özmen, as those who arrive in Turkey then move to countries where they have relatives. “We don’t have the numbers for a camp, and we don’t need one currently.”

Turkey Syriac Associations Federation head Evgil Türker said they will continue to maintain contact with the Mardin Governorship to help refugees.

Syria reportedly has around 300,000 Syriacs within its borders.