A Syrian woman begs with her children downtown Istanbul on July 16, 2014.AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC
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Authorities in Istanbul are working on plans to clear the streets of Syrian beggars and house them in camps like those on the border, as Turkey struggles with an influx of over a million refugees and the hospitality of locals starts to wear thin.Beggars have become increasingly visible in Istanbul, many of them Syrians displaced by their country's 3-year-old war, including women and young children, passports in outstretched hands, tapping on car windows in the city's dense traffic. They represent a tiny fraction of the Syrians sheltering in Turkey, some housed in well-equipped camps along the border, others living with friends or family or in modest rented accommodation in cities in the southeast, Ankara or Istanbul. But what feels like a growing number are living in derelict buildings or sleeping in parks, eking out a living by begging – illegal in Istanbul – and raising the concern of locals and other Syrians trying to integrate seamlessly into Turkish life. After arriving 20 days ago from the Syrian city of Homs – taken by government forces following a year-long siege – 36-year-old Turkmen Abdel's family is among several who live in a run-down two-story house in Istanbul's Fikirtepe suburb.
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