QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – Turkish security guards on border with Syria have shot dead a 16-year-old Syrian boy who was attempting to cross to Turkey illegally to flee the war in Syria, bringing the number to 464 Syrian civilians shot dead in the same way, the Syria-based war monitor Afrin Human Rights Organization reported on Thursday.
The Turkish border security guards shot dead the Syrian boy Khalil Nihad Shekho in Syria’s northwestern province of Afrin while he was trying to cross the border to Turkey, the monitor reported.
Shekho was trying to flee the violence and abuse by the Turkish-backed militias who have been occupying his hometown since March 2018 when Turkey launched an offensive on Afrin to push the Kurdish YPG military units.
“The Turkish border guards shot the boy Shekho dead with three bullets,” the war monitor said.
The war monitor also said that in July the Turkish-backed militia abducted 78 civilians in Afrin, including 4 women.
Also 12 civilians, including two women, were tortured by the Turkish-backed militia in Afrin, according to the war monitor.
Multiple human rights organizations and media outlets have documented a large number of claims that, since the occupation of Afrin began in March 2018, Turkish-backed armed groups have regularly committed various violations and war crimes, primary among them ethnic cleansing, kidnapping, extortion, murder, rape, and the looting and destruction of property.
In February 2019, the United Nations’ Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report charging that armed groups in Afrin were guilty of war crimes including “hostage-taking, cruel treatment, torture, and pillage.” It stated that “the most common violations perpetrated in Afrin involved frequent abductions by armed groups and criminal gangs.”
As recently as early March of this year, the commission again released evidence that it had found reasonable grounds to believe that the militias “perpetrated the war crime of murder and repeatedly committed the war crime of pillaging, further seriously contravening the right to enjoyment of possessions and property.”
Currently, over 100,000 residents are still estimated to be in the area, living under the harsh security and economic conditions that they have faced since Turkey took control of the Kurdish-majority region.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey closed its border crossings with the northern Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria. They also tightened the security on the border, preventing people who are fleeing the war-torn country to cross into Turkey by arresting them.
Since 2012, the Turkey-Syria border line witnessed several cases of civilian casualties by the Turkish border guards.
To make matters worse, Turkey announced the end of the open-door policy and started requiring visas for the Syrian nationals in 2016. This restriction led people to resort to smugglers or crossing the borders illegally during the night exposing themselves to risk.