Turkey Still shooting Syrian Refugees

Human Rights Watch this week confirmed that Turkey is still engaged in shooting Syrian refugees – as young as three-year-olds. In March and April too, Turkey used force against Syrian refugees and a smuggler, and as a result, five people were killed while fourteen were reportedly injured.

Amongst the reported incidents, six such incidents happened south of the Turkish city of Antakya, near the Khurbat al Juz-Güveççi border crossing. Turkey currently holds more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees. Although it is alleged of supporting Islamists in fighting government forces in Syria, Turkey has also signed deals with the European Union, which stops the flow of refugees from Turkey to Greece. In return, EU will pay Turkey $6 billion for refugee rehabilitation. Recently, Turkey has also threatened EU for opening its gates and allowing refugees to flee Europe if EU does not expedite free visa regime to Turkish citizens. For the time being, the proposal is on hold after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigned last week under pressure from the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Human Rights Watch also claims that Turkey’s southern frontier has been closed to refugees since August last year. Moreover in April of this year, guards also stopped refugees from fleeing after many of the campsites were shelled by artillery fire from unreported positions in Syria and Turkey. An eyewitness told Telegraph newspaper that Turkish guards reportedly put refugees in detention camps, while shooting them in the leg, bringing back the horrors of war they went through in Syria. A senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch, Gerry Simpson said, “While senior Turkish officials claim they are welcoming Syrian refugees with open borders and open arms, their border guards are killing and beating them.”

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