A Statement Regarding the Turkish Border Guards’ Attack on some Syrian Citizens

Every once in a while, Turkish Border Guards “Gendarmerie” attack Syrian civilians fleeing war zones in Syria by using lethal force, this has been repeated in dozens of incidents over the past years. Syrians who attempt to cross the borders entering the Turkish lands only search for a safe haven in Turkey, which they consider a civilized and supportive neighbor who defends human rights, a neighbor country that has already opened its doors to millions of Syrian civilians since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution in 2011.

Many Syrians have been killed, injured, or wounded by the Turkish Border Guards’ bullets at the Syrian-Turkish borders, the last of which was on March 12 of this year. The Turkish Border Guards (Gendarmerie) killed a young man (Abdul Raziq al-Qastal) and assaulted others, including a child, in a brutal manner while they were trying to cross into the Turkish lands. As a result of this incident these people suffered from severe bruises and fractures, and the total number of Syrians killed by Turkish Border Guard increased to 12 persons since the beginning of this year 2023.

The number of victims killed by the Turkish Border Guards during the past years, until March 12, 2023, reached 555 persons, including103 children under the age of 18, and 67 women. Moreover, 2295 persons were shot while attempting to cross the borders. These are residents of the Syrian border villages and towns, or farmers working in the fields adjacent to the border.

The Free Syrian Lawyers Association condemns this act in the strongest terms, calling on the Turkish government to stop the violations committed by the Turkish border guards against people who try to enter Turkey illegally. We also demand the opening of an immediate investigation regarding the assault case and referring to judiciary whoever the investigation proves to be related to the assault, in order to prevent the recurrence of such crimes.

The FSLA also calls on the Turkish government to oblige Turkish border guards to deal peacefully with civilians fleeing war zones in their search for refuge in safe areas, and to deal with them according to human rights principles, protect and provide them with security instead of considering them legitimate targets.

The FSLA also declares its support for the human rights efforts and the legal measures of Turkish human rights organizations that will be taken in this regard, and we affirm our cooperation in justice efforts in this context.