Syria’s Romani refugees find sanctuary in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul: but for how long?

ESPMI Network

3264 Many Syrian Romani children from the Dom community don’t get an education. Photograph: Elena Senao Baños

David Cox

On the north-western corner of Istanbul’s famous Taksim Square, a small gang of children dart through the traffic, tapping on car windows and trying to catch the attention of passers-by to sell bottles of water. These Syrian Gypsy children from a community known as the Dom are in many ways the forgotten faces of the Middle East crisis, which has left an estimated 26,000 refugee children homeless across Europe.

The Dom speak a separate language which traces back to the Indian subcontinent; even in times of peace they have always existed on the fringes of society, and are used to facing almost universal discrimination.

Before war broke out, there were up to 300,000 Dom living in Syria. Now many live on the streets of Istanbul’s ghettos, part of the approximately 366,000 Syrian…

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