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Syrian refugees in Turkey highlight racism after suicide of 9-year-old boy: report

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Syrians in Turkey are highlighting widespread racism against refugees after the death by suicide of a 9-year-old boy in Kocaeli province on Friday, BBC reported.

Wael al-Saud made Turkey his new home after escaping the Syrian conflict, but he killed himself after classmates attacked him, his father told news website Independent Turkish.

The Ministry of Education in Kocaeli denied there was bullying by either students or teachers and began an investigation.

More than 3.6 million refugees fled to neighboring Turkey after war broke out in Syria in 2011, but many say the welcome has worn thin.

“Wael was a sensitive, smart and calm boy, who loved life. He was very loved by people around him,” his father, Mustafa al-Saud, told Independent Turkish.

“He used to go to the mosque and recite the prayers with the imam.”

But his classmates ostracized Wael, telling him, “You are Syrian,” the father continued.

“It is always said that Syrians should leave. How long are we going to endure this? I’m calling on those who say this, give us a piece of land on the moon and we’ll go,” he said.

Video interviews with Syrian children describing bullying by other children were shared by the Refugees Foundation.

“You are Syrian children, go back to your own country,” one child recounted being told at school, while another was asked: “When are you going back? You ruined our country.”

Polling has shown a decline in support for Syrian refugees — from about 70 percent to 40 percent.

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