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SOHR: 163 Syrians killed by Turkish border guards since early 2016

04:41 Dec 6 2016 Kilis, Kilis (merkez), Kilis, Southeastern Anatolia Region, Turkey

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[via ReliefWeb]

A monitoring group Tuesday alleged at least 163 Syrians fleeing their war-torn country have been slain by Turkish border guards since the start of 2016. The accusation is the latest in a series stretching back more than a year of border guards firing on war refugees as they sought sanctuary in Turkey.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which has a network of activists on the ground inside Syria, says 31 children and 15 women were among those killed by Turkish gendarmes as they attempted to cross into Turkey.

Turkish authorities closed their border with Syria in March 2015, ending in effect their much-vaunted open door policy for refugees. Initially, they said the move was just temporary. Since then, there have been frequent claims by Syrians trying to escape airstrikes and fighting of being targeted by Turkish border guards.

Turkish officials insist their border guards do not fire on refugees but they say they have to make the border secure from infiltration by jihadists and terrorists intent on carrying out attacks in Turkey.

The first refugee killing this year came on January 12, says the monitoring group, when gendarmes killed a refugee as he attempted to sneak into Turkey from the province of al-Hasakah in the northeast corner of Syria. Refugees have reported being shot at all along the border, from Latakia in the west and through the provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib.

There have also been reports of refugees being beaten and robbed of money and cell phones by Turkish gendarmes.
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