HROA: 447 civilians killed by Turkish forces at Syrian border

The Human Rights Organization of Afrin – Syria released a statement announcing that 447 refugees were killed by Turkish soldiers at the Turkish-Syrian border. The 83 children under the age of 18 and 56 women.

The statement includes the following:

“Turkish border guards shoot Syrian asylum seekers, including Kurdish citizens, and beat them when they try to enter Turkish territory, causing the death and injury of a number of them. Especially recently, after the Turkish state and its armed Syrian factions occupied Afrin area and as a result of the pressure that the indigenous people in Afrin are exposed to by the armed factions of the Turkish occupation, the cases of the flight of citizens, especially the Kurds, from them, and their asylum to Turkey across the common borders, especially in Afrin, increased.

According to the testimony of the relatives and local residents, which were documented by international and local human rights organizations, including the “Human Rights Watch” violence is used against asylum seekers and Syrian smugglers.

If Turkey has the right to secure its borders with Syria, it is obligated to respect the principle of non-refoulement that prohibits the expulsion of asylum seekers at the border when they are at risk of persecution and torture, or when their lives and freedom are threatened. Turkey is also obligated to respect international standards related to the use of excessive force, the right to life and physical liberty, including the absolute risk of subjecting anyone to inhuman or degrading treatment.

At a time when Turkey is blackmailing the European Union with refugees on its soil, in order to obtain financial and political benefits to legitimize their stay in Syria, and subject them to death and beatings, Turkey is using live ammunition and rifle butts to counter the flow of refugees, and among the victims that the border guards are killing are children and women.

Local and international human rights observatories (Human Rights Watch, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Center for Violations in Northern Syria), noted in their reports the extent of the violations that took place and are still occurring during the asylum of the citizens of Syria with various components and nationalities who are trying to enter the Turkish lands to escape the death that has been chasing them in the conflict that has been going on in Syria for 9 years. In addition, residents of the Syrian border villages and towns or farmers and landowners near the border are also targeted by Turkish gendarmerie with live bullets.

The number of Syrian citizens who were shot by Turkish border guards (gendarmerie) reached 447, including 83 children under the age of 18 and 56 women. In addition, 420 Syrian citizens were injured with gunfire or assault. Also, the Turkish state has built a separation wall along its 911 km long border with Syria to prevent the entry of refugees, resulting in continuous civilian deaths and injuries.

Although Turkey is one of the guarantor countries to de-escalation, and participates as one of the main parties to the conflict in Syria, and has the task of protecting refugees and displaced persons, it acts completely the opposite.

We, as the human rights organization in Afrin-Syria, appeal to all international human rights and civil organizations, led by the United Nations, to put pressure on the Turkish government to prevent the use of excessive force against Syrian refugees and displaced persons and others, as one of the countries of the Council of the European Union, and it must respect all international laws and regulations that stipulates respect for human rights principles and all relevant international agreements.”