Turkey guns down Syrian refugees at the border: Human Rights Watch

Turkey guns down Syrian refugees at the border: Human Rights Watch –

In a press release earlier today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Turkish soldiers of beating and in some cases shooting Syrian refugees attempting to cross the border. In March and April this year, 5 Syrians – including one child – have been shot dead by Turkish border guards while 14 refugees had been severely injured. HRW released this video as proof of the attacks:


Human Rights Watch interviewed victims and witnesses involved in seven incidents between the first week of March and April 17, in which Turkish border guards shot dead three asylum seekers (one man, one woman, and a 15-year-old boy) and one smuggler; beat to death one smuggler; shot and injured eight asylum seekers, including three children, aged 3, 5, and 9; and severely assaulted six asylum seekers. Syrians living near the border also described the aftermaths of the shootings and beatings, including Turkish border guards firing at them as they tried to recover bodies at the border wall. One witness filmed a number of the dead and surviving victims and shared the videos with Human Rights Watch.

On May 4, Human Rights Watch sent a letter with these findings to the Turkish interior minister, urging Turkey to investigate the allegations made by Human Rights Watch, to order its guards not to shoot at asylum seekers, and to re-open its border to Syrians seeking safety.

Six of the incidents Syrian witnesses described took place near the Khurbat al-Juz-Güveççi border crossing, about 50 kilometers south of the Turkish city of Antakya. The seventh happened near the Syrian border town of al-Duriya. Seven of the injured people said they had briefly stayed in the Salaheddin camp for displaced persons in the village of Khurbat al-Juz, overlooking the newly-erected Turkish border wall nearby. Most of them, and others who traveled straight to the border, said they had recently fled fighting in and around Aleppo.

In response to the report, a senior Turkish presidency official said the authenticity of the video could not be verified. However, HRW published excerpts of interviews with four victims, five witnesses, and six local Syrian residents who described seven occasions in March and April in which Turkish border guards shot or assaulted 17 Syrian asylum seekers and two smugglers. Footage of some of the victims and bodies was taken by a security guard of a local internally displaced people camp, HRW said.

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