Walad, a Kurd who fled Syria six months ago, is one of the thousands who have made their way to Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian unrest. Instead of having to deal with the squalor of a refugee camp, he lives with his cousin's family in a house they managed to rent in Antakya. These families rely on help from relatives and Syrian activists for food, clothing and rent.
A deserted playground dominates the scene among rows of concrete platforms, once used to hold up tents, in an emptied out camp for Syrian refugees in Reyhanlı, Turkey. About 27,000 people have escaped the violence and oppression in their hometowns in Syria since the uprising began. As of April 2012, Turkish authorities have relocated most of them into the Oncupinar camp in the Kilis region.
A shepherd boy guards his sheep along a road seen against the backdrop of Syrian hills near Reyhanlı. Several rural villages dot the extensive border between the Hatay region in Turkey and Syria. Before the crisis, it was customary for relatives to visit one another across the borders of a land that in Ottoman times used to be part of Syria.
While the Syrian regime has banned medical aid supplies, opposition activists have setup secret hospitals in regions just across the border with Turkey where the wounded civilians and rebels can be treated. Supplies are provided by a network set up by Syrian doctors that have organized offices, makeshift clinics and storage rooms in Turkish towns a few miles away from the border.
A plume of smoke rises from a wooded area along the Turkish-Syrian border close to the village of Guveççi. Syrian activist believe pro-regime forces have deliberately set forest fires to stop civilians from fleeing and rebel movement along the border with Turkey.
Some families fleeing Syria have sought ways to elude camp life, which awaits most refugees across the border in Turkey, by renting houses in nearby towns. Nonetheless, being able to live a more dignified life does not prevent a feeling of isolation and hopelessness as the crisis in Syria escalates into a full-blown civil war.
About 4,000 Syrian refugees live outside the camps in the towns that dot the border with Turkey. Many keep themselves busy by organizing activities in support of the families. Activists supply basic foodstuff and medicinals, but also organize Turkish language lessons for refugees wanting to learn how to communicate in the country that has provided them with shelter.
In the past year, international diplomatic and economic sanctions have reduced relations between Turkey and Syria to commercial affairs. The recent outbreak of violence in the north of Aleppo and around the coastal city of Latakia, has reduced trade between the two countries to a trickle.
A woman from Haffa cries out in despair from inside a refugee camp in Yayladağı, Turkey. Several families fled Haffa when the fighting began last week and hid in the mountains above Latakia, before reaching Turkey by foot. UN observers entered Haffa and found evidence of widespread devastation.
Many refugees face their second summer away from their homeland. Some men say they want to go back to Syria to fight. Many of them have been blacklisted by Bashar al-Assad's security forces and say they fear detention, torture and retaliation against their families more than death.
Some 14,000 people are believed to have died since the conflict erupted last year. More and more civilians are joining the militia groups fighting government forces. But the ousting of Assad's regime may not mark the end of the bloody conflict. Many fear that Syria's future could be even worse.Author: Gaia Anderson, AntakyaEditor: Rob Mudge
Life on the Turkish-Syrian border is becoming increasingly difficult for thousands of refugees who fled the fighting in Syria.