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Rebels and Refugees: Syrians in Southern Turkey 10 septembre 2012

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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PRIO Policy Brief (Peace Research Institute Oslo) 10|2012, 10 September 2012

Kristian Berg Harpviken & Mark Naftalin *

The distinction between Syrian rebels and Syrian refugees in southern Turkey has become increasingly compromised in recent months. The ongoing militarization of Syrian refugees in Turkey is both organized and of significant scope, but has been overlooked in most analyses of the current events. The conflation of two supposedly divergent entities – combatants and non-combatants, together with the distinct spaces each should occupy – is a familiar one. As seen elsewhere, for example in Afghanistan, Darfur, Kosovo and Rwanda, the militarization of refugeehood not only deprives refugees of rightful protection and sanctuary, but also contributes to the protractedness of conflict. The current crisis and the nature of displacement add to the complexities of the security relationship between Damascus and Ankara. Experience from previous cases of refugee militarization should serve as a warning that the current conflation entails significant risks, and is likely to expand.

* Mark Naftalin is a Researcher at PRIO. His work focuses on transnationalism and rebel groups, and wartime migration. Kristian Berg Harpviken is the Director of PRIO. His main interests are civil war dynam-ics, peacebuilding, migration and transnational-ism. He is author of Social Networks and War-time Migration in Afghanistan (Palgrave 2009).

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