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Safe in Turkey, a family flees rape, torture in Syria
Note: This article contains disturbing content that may be triggering for some readers.
By Jonathon Burch
(Reuters) - It took three long days for 60-year-old Abdullah, his wife and son to hike across the hills to Turkey from their Syrian coastal city of Latakia, stopping only to hide from patrolling soldiers or to eat the sandwiches his wife had prepared for their escape.
When they finally reached their destination - a hole cut in the barbed wire fence that marks the Turkish-Syrian border - the grey-bearded father of eight was hungry, frightened and exhausted.
From his new home inside a Turkish refugee camp just across the border, Abdullah frantically recounts his harrowing journey to safety three days earlier and the horrors that drove his escape - now an all too common tale from the thousands of Syrians fleeing into Turkey.
"The secret police come in groups into our homes and take the women away to the police stations. They tear their clothes off and sexually assault them. Some of them, they rape," said Abdullah, his voice quivering as he speaks.