Syrian boy hospitalised after 'racist attack' on school playground in Istanbul
Ramez Al-Housni, 12, was reportedly assaulted by a 17-year-old Turkish student in an unsupervised school playground in Istanbul's Taksim district, after which he lost consciousness and was admitted to intensive care for four hours, Al-Housni's father Radi told The New Arab.
Witnesses described the alleged attack as "purely racist" as the child was asked if he was Syrian before being verbally and physically abused, according to the father.
"The teenager attacked [Ramez] then sat on top of him and strangled him until he lost consciousness... the doctors fear damage may have been caused to his windpipe and breathing process," the father told The New Arab.
"The doctors haven't given us anymore answers about why Ramez is still attached to hospital machinery but they are reassuring us and saying they won't release him until they are sure he is alright," he added.
Al-Housni's friend was with him during the incident but was unable to intervene so he called for help from school staff, who were only able to rescue the boy from the teenager's grip after he lost consciousness, Radi says.
Al-Housni was then transferred to Basaksehir Hospital from a hospital in Taksim, following his time in intensive care, in order to receive further medical treatment.
The police arrived at the hospital on Friday, 3 days after the incident occurred, to collect a statement, when Al-Housni's father issued an official complaint against the teenager who allegedly attacked his son.
"It's better late than never," he said regarding the police's delayed arrival.
Turkey is home to more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, who constitute the vast majority of over 4 million refugees and asylum seekers currently living in country, making Turkey the world's largest host of refugees.
A 2019 study by Istanbul's Kadir Has University showed growing hostility towards Syrian refugees from locals.