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3 Turkish border guards arrested after torturing, killing Syria refugees

March 20, 2023 at 1:42 pm

Turkish guard police [Evrim Aydın – Anadolu Agency]

Three Turkish border guards have been arrested and released pending trial following the beating of eight Syrians as they tried to cross into Hatay in southern Turkiye.

Two were killed and another two put in intensive care after the beating, which took place a week ago.

Survivors said they had been tortured and forced to drink diesel and photos circulating on social media showed their severely bruised and injured bodies.

The six surviving Syrians were later sent back to Syria.

For years, Syrians crossing the Turkish border have reported being humiliated and beaten.

In February last year Turkish border guards severely beat a Syrian man and his pregnant wife after they tried to cross with their young daughter.

READ: 9 out of 10 people in Syria camps have been displaced multiple times – survey

In another case, border guards forced a group of men to strip, purportedly to look for drugs, then forced them to clean their cabin.

A 2018 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report detailed how Turkish guards indiscriminately shot at and abused Syrian asylum seekers daily.

Over 3.6 million Syrian refugees live in Turkiye, the largest population of any of the host countries.

At first they were welcomed, but hostility has grown over the years, and they have been asked to return home.

HRW has said that between February and July 2022 authorities arbitrarily arrested and deported hundreds of Syrians and forced them to sign forms which said their deportation was voluntary.

In 2015 Turkiye began building an almost 800 kilometre concrete wall along its border with Syria to stop refugees entering.