“When you’re playing sports, national and religious differences disappear. I’ll give you an example. Not long ago I was playing in the finals of a table tennis championship against a Turkish coach. Many of the Turkish young people who I’ve been coaching here in Gaziantep were there watching. And it was amazing – lots of them were supporting me, not my Turkish opponent! I’ll never forget this moment. This is how I’d love to see the new Gaziantep.”

Zelal Mualem, Syrian Table Tennis Champion

“Sports really breaks down barriers. One day I went to play football with some other Syrian guys. When we got to the pitch, some Turkish guys were already warming up. We agreed to play against each other – whichever team scored first would get to use the pitch. But after we’d started the game we realised we were all having fun. So we mixed up our two teams and kept playing. That was my first real interaction with Turkish people in Turkey.”

Ahmad Aljabri, Journalism Student and Photographer