Turkey is erecting new refugee camps to accommodate the growing number of Christians fleeing the Syrian civil war.
Turkey has seen an influx of 250,000-400,000 Syrian refugees, the majority of whom are from Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority. But a growing number of Syria’s minority groups, including Christians and Kurds, are fleeing as well.
As a result, two new refugee camps are being erected that will have a capacity to house 2,500 people, mainly Assyrian Christians and refugees from other Christian denominations, Reuters reported. The camps are being built near the Turkish town of Mardin, which has its own small Assyrian Christian community as well.
Separately, in a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Maronite Lebanese Cardinal Beshara Rai expressed his concern over Syria’s beleaguered Christian population.
“I am concerned about the situation of Christians in Syria: 60 percent of the [Christian] population that has left is from the Orthodox sect,” Rai told Hollande, according to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.
France, a former colonial power in the region, has traditionally been seen as protector of the region’s Christian minority.
“France remains very attentive to the situation of Christians [of the Levant] who are important to the identity of the country in which they live,” Hollande said in a statement.