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Governor meets with Syrian community leaders in Şanlıurfa to defuse tensions

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Abdullah Erin, the governor of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, on Sunday met with leading figures from the Syrian community in the city to ease tensions triggered by the alleged murder of two locals by Syrian residents, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

A fight reportedly broke out between Turkish and Syrian families on Thursday in the Osmanlı neighborhood of the city that resulted in the death of two Turks.

Syrians living in the city were attacked following the killings.

As tensions rose, Erin held a “consultation meeting” with Mayor Nihat Çiftçi, local police chief Veysal Tipioğlu, commander of the local gendarmerie force Eyüp Sabri Kirişçi and representatives of Turkish and Syrian NGOs.

“The state will not tolerate any unlawful actions,” Erin told the meeting, adding that Şanlıurfa is a city of “tolerance and peace.”

He also said all measures have been taken to prevent any provocations.

According to the governor, 20 people, including Syrians, have been detained over social media postings that authorities deem as inciting hatred.

He said Syrians living in the city should show respect for their “hosts.”

“In certain neighborhoods Syrians have become a majority. Unfortunately, some attitudes and behaviors of Syrians annoy the locals, such as loitering in the streets until late at night,” the governor said, calling on Syrians to show respect to the locals’ way of life.

Syrian community leaders conveyed condolences over the death of the two people.

They noted it was not easy to reach out to every Syrian living in the city but promised to do their part.

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