The lies of the Turkish government have been exposed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). “The security vacuum and lack of basic livelihood in the so-called “safe zone” contravene statements about the safe return of Syrian refugees,” SOHR said.
Although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and senior Turkish government officials have stated that they have ensured a suitable environment for the return of Syrian refugees to areas controlled by Turkish forces and their proxies in northern Syria, SOHR reported that the dire situation in these areas, which suffer from severe shortages of basic necessities and worrying security chaos, contradicts the Turkish authorities’ statements. Violations, including abductions and arbitrary arrests for ransom by Turkish-backed groups and unidentified gunmen, have been documented on a daily basis in the areas occupied by the Turkish state. In August alone, 26 civilian deaths were recorded in the Turkish-occupied regions.
It is further reported that appalling living conditions are being experienced by the inhabitants of many makeshift camps in the occupied territories. They also face unaffordable prices for all goods as the Turkish currency adopted in the region continues to plummet against the US dollar. Employment opportunities are also very poor as Turkish-backed groups continue repressing and persecuting civilians.
Despite Turkey’s claims that Syrian refugees are returning voluntarily, SOHR says the refugees are being forced back by Turkish authorities. The statement continued: “The so-called ‘safe zone’ has experienced scores of factional infightings, which left many casualties and triggered panic among civilians, the latest incident of which is the military tension between ‘Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement’ and factions of the ‘National Army’, which has not come to an end so far.” In addition, Turkish border guards (gendarmerie) frequently use violence against Syrians trying to enter Turkey at the border.