An unofficial refugee camp grew in a public park in the middle of Kilis, Turkey, over the past three months. More than 3000 Syrians slept on dirt and cardboard, and underneath tarps strung between trees. I visited many times during my six weeks in Kilis this summer, sometimes with a camera, sometimes just to meet and chat over tea with one english-speaking refugee and his family, as well as others when I had a translating friend available. Photos were always a bit of a sneaky issue because the Turkish authorities were cracking down and trying to keep journalists and photographers out. Many refugees believed this is because the conditions were so dreadful that Turkey was embarrassed and wanted to hide the truth.
Yesterday — finally — the park was closed, and the authorities moved Syrian families to a new and better-equipped official camp a few KM away. Newly published on VOCATIV is my photoessay from the place, the shots taken in the final days of it’s existence, a record of the conditions many Syrian families had to face even after they escaped the war at home.