The Syrian-Turkish border is witnessing an escalation in violations committed by the Turkish “gendarmerie” forces against Syrians, whether those who want to cross through smuggling routes or others living near the separation wall, which Turkey built years ago and recently announced its completion.
In a recent report, a Turkish human rights organization documented several violations committed by the “gendarmerie” forces against Syrians during the past months, especially children, warning that these practices would lead to provocative incidents for Syrian citizens.
In its report, a copy of which was received by Al-Hurra, the “Mazlomdir” organization pointed to “the need to stop the violence cases on the Syrian-Turkish borders, which would amount to provocative facts for the Syrians.”
The long report dealt with several violations in the past months, including the incident of child A.H. being injured on May 21 while playing with a group of boys near the border isolation wall in the Karama camp area.
Also, the killing of the young man (H.F) on May 31, after he was severely beaten by the “gendarmerie” forces while trying to cross into Turkish territory, leaving him at the entrance to the Al-Alani crossing (the Syrian section).
The report pointed to another incident, in which the child (M.J) was wounded after being shot while he was tending sheep in the border village of Qamishliya, on the 3rd of this month.
The aforementioned facts were documented by human rights organizations on several occasions, and in an unofficial statistic, at least 500 Syrian citizens were killed on the border by “gendarmerie” bullets, which are spread in military outposts and points along the wall separating Syria and Turkey.
‘Not just mistakes’
Although the violations practiced by the Turkish border guards are not new but go back to previous years, they have escalated dramatically during the past two months, in April and May.
The striking point in these violations is that they are targeting Syrian citizens inside their lands along the separation wall, meaning that the “gendarmerie” bullets are no longer limited to controlling smuggling operations inside Turkey, but rather have transgressed to reach the other side of the border.
The Turkish government does not comment on abuses carried out by the gendarmerie forces.
But, on the other hand, it says that it seeks to control smuggling operations into its territory, especially the operations through which “terrorists” from the “ISIS” and the “PKK” pass.
“These events and facts have begun to attract our attention, due to their increasing frequency in recent times. They are individual and limited incidents, and children were sometimes victims,” the “Mazlomandir” organization said in its report.
The human rights organization added: “However, it was noted that these incidents generally occur around observation points and camps located outside the border wall, some of which were in pastures and agricultural lands.”
The organization considered that “whatever those dangers and threats are, this will not be a justification for targeting innocent children who are with their families in harsh living conditions. These events are very serious violations and cannot be described as mere mistakes.”
The organization indirectly criticized the way the Turkish government dealt with the violations of the border guards, and continued: “The lack of interest in following up on these violations will inevitably constitute a severe provocation to the Syrian citizens present in those areas.”
According to what media sources from rural Idlib said in statements to Al-Hurra website, smuggling through the border wall between Syria and Turkey is mostly from opposite the villages of Harem, Kafr Lusin, Darkush and Al-Duriyah (Khirbet Al-Jouz).
These roads are not safe at all, as the Turkish border guards directly target the passersby with live bullets, and they are detained and immediately deported to Idlib via Bab al-Hawa crossing, according to the same media sources.
In a previous report, the “Syrians for Truth and Justice” organization said that the cost of crossing the smuggling routes ranges between 300 and 500 US dollars. An amount of 25 to 50 dollars is deducted from it to “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham” in exchange for a “transit receipt” from the areas it controls.
Last March, the aforementioned human rights organization documented the killing of two children and a young man by Turkish border guards during the months of January and February, when the latter shot directly at a child while he was on his family’s farm on Syrian territory, without knowing the direct reason for that targeting.
Meanwhile, a child and a young man were killed while trying to cross illegally into Turkish territory. The young man is Basil Muhammad Haj Musa, who hails from the town of Bazabur in the Jabal al-Zawiya area in the southern Idlib countryside.
From west to east
The violations are not limited to a specific spot along the Syrian-Turkish border, but include all areas, starting from the borders of Idlib governorate, to north and east Syria, in the “Spring of Peace” area, according to which the Turkish army took control of a long geographical area that extends between the two cities of Ras al-Ain. and Tal Abyad in the countryside of Raqqa.
And last April, the young man, “Ali Khalaf Harun al-Masrib”, from the Jabour tribe, in the countryside of Raqqa governorate, was killed by the “gendarmerie” while trying to enter Turkish territory.
In the same month, a woman was killed by a sniper’s bullet near the border wall, while she was working on agricultural land on the border for a daily wage.
The “Mazlomandir” organization presented suggestions and visions associated with the mentioned practices.
And she said in her report, “Their continuation may create behaviors and reactions among Syrian citizens present in those areas. These behaviors may threaten the safety and lives of Turkish volunteers working for NGOs, medical staff and military personnel present at Turkish observation points.”
She added, “It is necessary to take urgent measures to stop these violations, start an effective investigation into deaths, hold accountable and punish those responsible for these incidents, provide support to the families of the victims and alleviate their suffering.”