The British newspaper The Times is reporting that Turkish soldiers are shooting Syrian refugees crossing their borders fleeing the civil war in their country.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 migrants, including three children, had been killed in the past four months as they tried to cross into Turkey, according to The Times.
The true number is believed to be higher, according to a Syrian police officer and a Syrian smuggler who lives in Turkey, but it is impossible to say exactly how many because the bodies of those who fell on the Syrian side of the border were dragged back to be buried in the war zone.
The observatory details how a man and his child were killed in Ras al-Ain – on the eastern stretch of the Syria-Turkey border – on February 6. And two refugees were then shot dead at Guvveci on the western stretch of the border on March 5.
He added: ‘Turkish soldiers used to help the refugees across, carry their bags for them. Now they shoot at them.’
The luckiest ones, the smuggler said, are those who fall on the Turkish side of the border after being shot. They are taken to a Turkish hospital for treatment and allowed to stay in the country, according to The Times.
The crackdown by Turkey is said to have started in December, following pressure from the West to crack down on the movement of migrants towards the EU.