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21 April, 2016

Children, women killed by Turkish border guards while fleeing Syria

Eight Syrians were killed by Turkish border guards while fleeing violence in their war-torn country, according to footage obtained by The Times. Most of the victims were women and children.

The group was trying to cross into Turkey through a mountain smuggling route at the western end of the border on Sunday night, but were forced back by government forces firing live rounds.

Video footage recorded on a mobile phone reportedly shows a man carrying his young son after the boy was shot in both legs. The father is seen turning back down the mountain path in search of medical help.

[...]

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Turkey to stop firing on Syrian civilians and to allow them to cross the border.

As civilians flee ISIS fighters, Turkey is responding with live ammunition instead of compassion,” Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at HRW, said in a statement. “The whole world is talking about fighting ISIS, and yet those most at risk of becoming victims of its horrific abuses are trapped on the wrong side of a concrete wall.”

Andrew Gardner, a researcher at Amnesty International, told RT in March that Turkish guards routinely shoot Syrian refugees stranded at the border.

There have been many reports of incidents on the border. We collected information on this as early as 2014, when we received many reports of people being shot when they were trying to cross the border irregularly,” Gardner said.

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According to Amnesty, Turkey has forcibly returned thousands of Syrian refugees to their homeland since mid-January. The organization also alleged that Turkish authorities have scaled back the registration of Syrian refugees in the southern provinces, making it impossible for them to access basic services.

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