HATAY, Turkey

After arriving in Turkey eight years ago from war-torn Syria, Abdulvahid Gibeysh now makes a living from turning stones into trays.

Gibeysh, 59, a father of seven, arrived in 2013 in Hatay, southern Turkey, where he had learned the profession of stonemasonry and began to make a living out of handcrafting stones.

Telling Anadolu Agency that he had learned how to turn boulders into stone trays on his own, Gibeysh said he transforms stones he collects from local mountainous areas into trays of various sizes using a drill, hammer, brush, sandpaper, and chisel in the workshop he set up at in the yard of his home.

The trays are used to cook some local foods in Hatay, as the Syrian stonemason told how he began to make the trays after noticing the need for such a stone master in the region.

Noting that making the trays is very difficult, Gibeysh said: “I came across stone pottery during a visit to a Turkish neighbor. Then I felt like I could also make that. I learned the profession in a short time and now I can do one or two a day.”

He sells his trays for 50-150 Turkish liras, or around $7-$22.

He said that tourists who come to the region during the summer are also interested in his stone pottery.

“I’m working to further improve myself and make different products with stone,” he added.

Turkey currently hosts nearly 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world.