8 years after Turkey closed its borders at the Syrians – The Turkish Gendarmerie kills and wounds nearby 1900 civilians on their attempt to reach a safe haven
Even though Turkey completely closed its border at the Syrians since November 2015 and distributed military units on all border strips, encompassing the areas of Latakia’s countryside and reaching towards the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo until the countryside of Al-Hassaka, in addition to Turkey having constructed a concrete wall in order to prevent refugees from entering into Turkish soil and giving orders to target everyone who tries to cross the border, civilians still continuously try to arrive in Turkey in informal ways. Their fleeing attempts usually take place through smugglers, who are often hailing from the villages and towns, adjacent to Turkish territory and are fully familiar with the routes.
In fact, those searching for a safe haven do not care about the dangers and difficulties of these roads, most of which are observed by snipers, in addition to the presence of dozens of military patrols that monitor the strip. Moreover, a huge concrete wall was built on the largest part of the border, while the fleeing citizens are exposed to embezzlement and fraud by smugglers, thus, getting caught between the Turkish Gendarmerie and the smugglers, who would not let go of any opportunity to take advantage of the Syrian refugees.
Whoever is spared from the bullets of the Gendarmerie on the border strip will face the fate of beatings and humiliation within the border after arrest. In most cases, refugees are exposed to direct fire by the Turkish Gendarmerie when they are discovered while trying to enter Turkish territory. As for those who are arrested, they are beaten and forced to do hard work, such as moving dirt barricades and cleaning the bathrooms. Subsequently, everyone is force to provide his or her fingerprints on their return papers to Syria, in order to find out who they are if they try again to enter Turkey.
According to the documentation of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the number of Syrian civilians who were killed by the bullets of the “Turkish Gendarmerie” forces from November 2015 until this November 2023 reached 547 civilians and can be classified as followed:
– 94 children
– 46 citizens
– 407 men and young men
During the same period, more than 1,349 civilians were wounded with varying injuries being inflicted on them, as a result of being subjected to severe beatings, abuse, and bullets by Turkish border guards.
Therefore, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights renews its demand and appeal to the United Nations, the international community and the Security Council, to put pressure on the Turkish government in a serious and effective manner, in order to stop the attacks being carried out against Syrians fleeing the of war in their home country. The Observatory also calls on civilians to be careful not to head off to Turkey through unsafe roads in view of what it is happening at the Syrian-Turkish border, namely, the escalation in killings and attacks on civilians.
The Syrian Observatory also calls for the case of the homicide on the border with Turkey to be referred by the “Turkish Gendarmerie” to competent international courts so that the perpetrators of the Syrian people can be legally punished and held accountable.