The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Contrary to Ankara’s statements about voluntarily return of 625,000 Syrian refugees | Turkish authorities continue forcible deportation of Syrians

Turkish government continues to claim that thousands of Syrian refugees have returned voluntarily from Turkey to their homeland. However, all developments and news and testimonies of the returnees are unrefuted evidence of the forcible deportation of Syrian refugees by Turkish authorities from several Turkish provinces.


The Turkish Minister of Interior Affairs, Ali Yerlikaya, had stated that the number of Syrian refugees who returned voluntarily from Turkey to Syria reached 625,000. The Turkish Minister has also confirmed that Ankara continues to provide services to people in the so-called “safe zone,” which contains Jarabulus, Azaz, Al-Bab and other areas, according to “Guzelo” website which is interested in the affairs of Syrian refugees in Turkey.


It is worth noting that Syrian refugees are forcibly deported from different Turkish areas to Syria on a daily basis under the pretext that they do not have official documents, although the most of them carry the temporary protection card ”Kimlik.” The forcibly deported Syrians are sent to areas controlled by Turkish-backed factions in north Aleppo countryside, where they inhabit in camps that lack basic livelihood, while others are sent to areas controlled by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham in Idlib city and countryside, via Bab Al-Hawa crossing.


The forcibly deported Syrians face many challenges, where they are deported to Syria and their families remain in Turkey; this, in turn, leads to family separation. In addition, there are no appropriate atmosphere and places for the return of refugees in the recent time, because of the escalating security chaos in areas controlled by Turkish-backed factions in Syria, let alone the dreadful living conditions, lack of job opportunities and poor assistance provided by humanitarian organisations and relevant authorities to displaced and deported people in these areas.


Yesterday, SOHR sources reported that the Turkish border guards (Jandarma) tortured 15 Syrian people in the Turkish province of Mardin, after having been arrested earlier. Turkish authorities accused those Syrians of “belonging to SDF,” and the Syrian people were later delivered to the military police in Ras Al-Ain city which is under the control of factions of “Peace Spring” operations room in the north-west of Al-Hasakah.


The military police tortured those people and asked their families for ransoms of 1,500 USD for their release.


The released people have told SOHR activists that the prison of the military police, where they were held, was very bad and hosted many detainees, some of whom sentenced to ten years in prison. In addition, detainees in this prison endured brutal torture, including cruel beating, giving electric shocks and psychological intimidation with trained police dogs, as the sources described. The released people have also confirmed that members of “Sultan Murad” faction were the ones investigating detainees and that many of the detainees were released only after having paid large ransoms.


On February 6, SOHR sources reported that border guard forces of SDF arrested seven people near the Turkish border attempting to enter Turkish territory, where they were handed over to the Internal Security Forces to verify their identities and check if they are suspec or affiliated with ISIS. According to reliable SOHR sources the arrested people will be released if they are not suspects after pledging not to approach the border again through routes used for smuggling.