Russia-U.S. talks on Syria do little to stem flow of refugees
'The world doesn't care about us': Syrian refugees doubtful about Russia-U.S. talks
Russia and the United States are preparing to discuss a new political settlement to end the war in Syria, but most Syrians are not betting on international diplomatic efforts to bring about a ceasefire.
They've seen too many previous attempts at negotiation fail.
"The world doesn't care about us. They only care about their own interests," said Abdul Khana'a, who recently left the Syrian city of Aleppo and is in Turkey seeking refuge from the war in Europe.
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Russian combat aircraft and surface-to-air missiles have now arrived in Syria as Moscow seeks to bolster beleaguered Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
The Russians are also digging in, adding firepower in the fight against ISIS. The United States is concerned about the Russian military buildup in Latakia province, one of the few remaining areas of support for Assad.
However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he also sees the Russian escalation as an opportunity to once again seek a diplomatic solution to end the war, which has raged for four and a half years.
Kerry said the United States, "agreed completely on the urgency of nations coming together in order to resolve this war that has gone on for much too long."
The prospect of more talks is not slowing the tide of Syrians who have decided to seek a safer existence outside of their country.
Tens of thousands have made their way to Europe in recent months, a wave of migration spurred by a realization that the fighting in Syria shows no sign of ending.
Residents of Aleppo and Homs told CBC News about the unending artillery and airstrikes by forces loyal to President Assad. Gun battles continue to spill out onto city streets across the country.
There are increasing challenges for those who have left Syria, too. Lebanon and Jordan have brought in border and employment restrictions that the refugees say have made it much more difficult to subsist.
Attitudes are changing, as well.
"When I first got to Turkey, they treated me well," said Amar Aldoura, a Syrian from Damascus who fled with his wife and baby son a year ago. Aldoura has been in Istanbul for about a month, hoping to gain access to Europe by crossing the land border with Greece.
"Now we are treated more badly," he said, adding that his family has been cursed at recently, and called "lazy Syrians" by a man at the Istanbul bus station where he's camped out.
Even so, for many, conditions outside Syria are still preferable to those at home. With little hope that U.S.-Russian negotiations will result in peace, refugees continue to stream into Europe.
But winter is coming, and the trip will become even more treacherous when the weather changes. This may slow the tide of those trying to make it to Europe, but for those already on the move it's also increasing the urgency to reach a safe haven.
Many are aware that Canada has pledged to take in thousands of refugees.
"We are just as peaceful as the Canadian people. And as hard-working as the Canadian people. And we can mix in any society," said Amar Aldoura from Damascus.
Aldoura and other refugees camped out in Istanbul say they would welcome the chance be accepted by Canada. But they know the process is slow, and as winter approaches, Europe is their first choice.
"But we need to go now, before it's too late," Aldoura said.
Derek Stoffel is reporting from Istanbul