Turkish police in the southern province of Hatay have clashed with protesters who held a demonstration to censure Ankara for its support of armed groups fighting the Syrian government. The demonstration was held in the city of Antakya on Sunday. Riot police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters, who condemned the Turkish government for its intervention in Syria. The demonstrators also expressed their dissatisfaction over the presence of a large number of Syrian refugees, who fled the violence in their country and are staying in crowded camps along the border. A local Turkish resident, Sinan Seyfettin, said the conflict in Syria is hurting the people of Turkey. "The war in Syria has seriously affected our local economies, many businesses have gone bankrupt," he stated. "We want war to end so the region can recover."
More Syrian refugees are arriving in Turkey every day. There are more than 80,000 refugees in a dozen camps concentrated in the province of Hatay, which is on the border with Syria.Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings. The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals. Damascus also says the insurgents are supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. AGB/HGL