Protests sparked in NW Syria against Turkish border guards’ practices

AFRIN, Syria (North Press) –  On Monday, sources from Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey north of Idlib, northwest Syria, said residents and activists arrived at the crossing to denounce the practices of Turkish border guards against Syrians.

The sources told North Press that the protest followed the killing of the 17-year-old Abdurrazaq Ahmad al-Qastal from the village of Samra in the eastern countryside of Hama Governorate, central Syria, and the wounding of seven others on March 11 by the Turkish border guards while they were trying to cross to Turkey from north of Idlib.

The protesters demanded that al-Qastal body is handed to his family since relative authorities have not handed the body to the family yet under the pretext of investigation to hide traces of torture the body sustains, according to the sources.

The same sources added that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, formerly al-Nusra Front) has mobilized its security apparatus and closed the crossing since 10:00 am. 

On Sunday, activists in the city of Afrin, northwest Syria, called for organizing a protest to denounce the killing and torturing practiced by the Turkish border guard against Syrians trying to cross the border into Turkey.

The source added that the protest will take place on Monday at Newroz Roundabout in the city center of Afrin where the participants will demand the Turkish border guards, who are responsible for crimes against Syrians, are held accountable.

Turkish authorities continue to tighten the screw on the Syrians who try to illegally cross to Turkey by snipping and ongoing torturing, according to reports.

Syrians, while crossing the border, are attacked and shot at by the Turkish border guards.

The Monitoring and Documentation Department of North Press has counted the killing of 16 individuals and the wounding of 46 others including a child and three women since early 2023.

Most of those who want to access Turkey resort to illegal and dangerous smuggling routes in light of unavailable safe ones to either reunite with their families or secure jobs to provide for their families amid the dire economic conditions the country is witnessing.

Reporting by Hani Salem/ Farouq Hamo