The Strategist

Turkey Is Accused of Shooting Refugees at the Border with Syria

03/31/2016 - 15:11

Turkish border guards opened fire on refugees trying to cross the Syrian-Turkish border, claim the British The Times and The Independent. According to them, several migrants were killed.

According to the Syrian Center for Monitoring Human Rights, Turkish border guards opened fire on civilians trying to cross the Syrian-Turkish border on March, 4. Two people were killed, another 10 were injured. It is unknown whether the refugees managed to reach the Turkish border. Above that, media also reported about another eight migrants killed by the border guards.

According to British newspaper The Times, 16 people perished. At that, a representative of the Free Syrian police said the death toll could be higher. According to the publication, a man and his child were killed on February 6 at the eastern section of the border from the Syrian city of Ras al-Ayn. On March 5, two more migrants were shot at the border. A smuggler dealing with migrants told The Times that now refugees crossing the border "will be either killed or taken prisoner." "In the past, Turkish soldiers used to provide assistance to refugees at the border, helped migrants carry their bags. Now, the border guards are opening fire on them," - said the publication’s source. 

The Times believes that the killing of refugees have questioned the immigration agreement between Turkey and the European Union (EU) concluded 11 days ago. "Under the agreement, Turkey qualifies as a safe third country. This means that refugees should be able to go back there without fear that they may be prosecuted ", - says the publication.

As noted by another British newspaper - The Independent - Ankara authorities do not deny that sometimes border guards "are forced to open fire on those who try to cross the border illegally." "In some cases, the border guards have no choice but to fire warning shots, since they are often subjected to attacks of smugglers and terrorist groups on the border with Syria," - said a senior of the Government of Turkey to the newspaper.

March 18 was the last day of the two-day EU summit in Brussels. Its main theme was to discuss the settlement of the influx of illegal immigrants from Turkey to the EU. Parties failed to agree on a joint plan of action to combat migration crisis: Turkey is ready to accept refugees trying to get back into the EU in exchange for financial assistance and the acceleration of negotiations on the abolition of visas.


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