Syrian refugees in Turkey ‘detained’ and ‘forced’ to return to conflict zones

More than 400,000 people have already died because of the war in Syria. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 July 2019

Syrian refugees in Turkey ‘detained’ and ‘forced’ to return to conflict zones

  • According to the report, Syrians are being coerced into signing forms saying they want to return to Syria
  • Over 3.6 million Syrian refugees are in Turkey – half a million of them in Istanbul

DUBAI: Syrians are being “detained” and “coerced” to go back to their war-torn country by Turkish authorities, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch on Saturday.

“Turkey claims it helps Syrians voluntarily return to their country, but threatening to lock them up until they agree to return, forcing them to sign forms, and dumping them in a war zone is neither voluntary nor legal,” Gerry Simpson, associate Emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, said.

According to the report, Syrians are being coerced into signing forms saying they want to return to Syria, and then detained before they are sent back to conflict zones including Idlib and Aleppo, where more than 400,000 people already died in the armed conflict.

Although the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu denied such claims, several Syrians testified to have experienced maltreatment from Turkish authorities, drawing criticisms from rights groups.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees called on states not to “forcibly return Syrian nationals and former habitual residents of Syria,” and argues that asylum seekers “need international refugee protection.”

Over 3.6 million Syrian refugees are in Turkey – half a million of them in Istanbul. Recently, Turkey has intensified its crackdown on “unregistered” refugees, increasing police spot-checks of Syrians’ registration documents.

“Turkey should protect the basic rights of all Syrians, regardless of registration status, and register those denied registration since late 2017,” HRW’s report said, citing an international law that prohibits the return of anyone to “a place where they would face a real risk of persecution, torture, or other ill-treatment, or a threat to life.”


Envoys in Iraq condemn excessive violence, urge credible probe into deaths

Updated 18 min 13 sec ago

Envoys in Iraq condemn excessive violence, urge credible probe into deaths

  • The ambassadors called on Iraq to respect freedoms of assembly and right to protest peacefully

BAGHDAD, Jan 27 : Envoys of 16 countries in Iraq, including, France, Britain and the United States, on Monday condemned the use of excessive violence by Iraqi security forces and armed groups and called for a credible investigation into hundreds of deaths since October.
“Despite assurances by the government, security forces and armed groups continue to use live fire in these locations, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries of civilians, while some protesters face intimidation and abduction,” the joint statement said, referring to the cities of Baghdad, Nasriya and Basra.
The ambassadors called on Iraq to respect freedoms of assembly and right to protest peacefully and urged the Baghdad government to “guarantee credible investigations and accountability for the over 500 deaths and thousands of injuries of protesters since Oct. 1.”