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HRW accuses Turkey of shooting at refugees on Syria border

HRW accuses Turkey of shooting at refugees on Syria border


Human Rights Watch has accused Turkey’s border guards of indiscriminately shooting at Syrian civilians on the border with Syria, as well as torturing and using excessive force against asylum seekers and migrants.

Since the beginning of 2023, 11 deaths and 20 injuries have been recorded along the border caused by Turkey’s border guards.

“Turkish gendarmes and armed forces in charge of border control routinely abuse and indiscriminately shoot at Syrians along the Syrian-Turkish border, with hundreds of deaths and injuries recorded in recent years,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“Arbitrary killings of Syrians are particularly egregious and part of a pattern of brutality by Turkish border guards that the government has failed to curb or investigate effectively.”

Turkey has taken in about 3.5 million Syrians, hosting more refugees than any other country, but Human Rights Watch says that this does not absolve it of its obligations to respect the rights of others seeking protection at its borders. The authorities in Turkey have been asked to urgently conduct a full review of their border security policy.

“Since the beginning of 2023, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has recorded 11 deaths and 20 injuries along the Syrian/Turkish border caused by Turkish border guards. Human Rights Watch independently documented and verified two such incidents.

“In early March 2023, Human Rights Watch obtained nonexhaustive data from an organization monitoring hostilities in Syria, that documented 277 individual incidents between October 2015 and April 2023. The monitors recorded at least 234 deaths and 231 injuries, the vast majority of which occurred while victims attempted to cross the border.

“Twenty-six incidents involved children, with at least 20 killed and 15 injured. Significantly, at least 6 people who were not attempting to cross the border were shot dead and another 6 were injured. The organization requested not to be named out of concern that its humanitarian work could be negatively impacted by Turkish authorities.” (EMK/VK)


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