"I want to be a writer, too," Ala says.
"But not before Bashar leaves," an older man yells from across the room. Everyone looks at the man and then back to the screen. They will watch TV the rest
of the day.
For more than two years, Turkey has acted as a space for Syrians like Ala to flee the perpetual violence in their country. They come to Turkey to
rehabilitate both physically and emotionally -- to heal and to return back to Syria after the war ends. Thousands of Syrians have flooded into refugee
camps with their families, where at least they know they will not hear bombs at night. And wounded victims like Ala are recovering from burns and breaks in
temporary rehab centers on the border. But with tensions increasing in Ankara, the Turkish government may not have the capacity to both handle the chaos
brewing in the streets and help provide for the Syrians at the same time.
With government supplies running low, Syrians living in Turkey have already begun caring for themselves. Ghassan Abboud, the owner of Orient TV in Syria,
funds this rehab center independently from the Turkish government.
There are four rooms in the Orient hospital. The room next to Ala's is painted in pastel blue and faces the mountains thousands of Syrians have crossed on
their journey to Turkey. This room is much different--it is filled with the groans of men who were torn from the streets of a war they had made their own.
Most of the men in the room fought with the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo before being brought to a hospital in Syria and then transferred to this rehab
center in Reyhanli.
The men are swapping stories, propped up on their beds. One has his laptop out on the bed. He can only type with one hand. His left leg and his right arm
have been sliced off. The man in the bed next to his has both of his arms, but his left leg is distorted--bent and twisted under his right.
Out the doorway of this room is a porch where a man sprawls on a couch. His right hand props his head up. A patch covers the space where his right eye
would still be if it had not been removed. A white plastic tube spills out of his torso -- attached to it is a bag for his blood. The bag hangs from his
body and drapes over the couch. It sits on the floor in front of him where he can see it fill.
Almost all of the patients in the hospital are without their families, except for Ala. But most say they do not want to go home to Syria after they heal.
They say they want to stay in Turkey where it is safe. Not one patient had their entire family near the hospital: Their mothers and fathers and brothers
and sisters travel through the border or come from the camps in Turkey to visit them.
Sitting at the entrance of the Orient Hospital are two flags--one FSA and one Turkish--a strange, forced symbol of a partnership that doctors here say does