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Syrian refugees abused, shot at by Turkey's border guards: HRW report

Syrian refugees are under mounting pressure in Turkey as the president seeks to mend ties with the Syrian government.
A soldier mans a machine gun mounted on an army vehicle during a Turkish and Russian military patrol in the countryside of Rumaylan (Rmeilan), in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province bordering Turkey, on April 27, 2023. (Photo by Delil souleiman / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

A leading human rights organization condemned Turkey on Thursday for its treatment of Syrian refugees at its southern border. Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Turkish forces of indiscriminately shooting at and torturing Syrian migrants and asylum seekers at the border.

Hugh Williamson, the organization’s director for Europe, said in a statement that such abuses are common. He said, “Turkish gendarmes and armed forces in charge of border control routinely abuse and indiscriminately shoot at Syrians along the Syrian-Turkish border, with hundreds of deaths and injuries recorded in recent years.”

HRW cited data from the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicating 11 deaths and 20 injuries attributable to Turkish border guards in 2023. The watchdog called on Turkish authorities to review border security policies and pursue justice for the victims.

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