The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

To stop smuggling | Turkey instructs Syrian factions and H*T*S to control the borders

Turkey took extensive measures with the forces that control the areas adjacent to Turkish borders, to stop smuggling operations, coinciding with deportation of Syrians living in Turkey under the name of “voluntary return” towards the safe area.

Turkish forces instructed factions of the “National Army” that controls areas adjacent to Turkish borders, to conduct patrols in “Peace Spring”, “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch” areas to arrest smuggling networks and people being smuggled.

Turkish-backed factions were able to arrest dozens including women and children and stop smuggling operations that were on their way to Turkey.

HTS established checkpoints tens of metres away from the border wall between Syria and Turkey in the area of western and north western Idlib countryside, after an agreement with Turkey to prevent smuggling operations and cooperate to reveal the tunnels dug by smugglers away from the Turkish Border Guards.

According to reliable SOHR sources, HTS took the responsibility of stopping smuggling after refusing the entry of Turkish forces and building checkpoints in Syrian territory.

Moreover, Turkish forces, “Al-Sham Legion” and HTS carried out tours near the borders from the side of Syrian territory in Idlib countryside all the way to Lattakia countryside to determine locations of checkpoints.

On the same context, HTS stopped granting approval for smuggling into Turkish territory a week ago after the detention of one of the heads of the smuggling networks called “Soumar Al-A’araj” after his deportation by the Turkish authorities.

Human smuggling operations towards Turkish territory are active within the region, and HTS controls the smuggling movement by imposing a financial fee of 200 USDs per person to obtain a permit for smuggling through smugglers, and most of the smuggling operations take place from areas of western Idlib countryside.

Accordingly, the number of civilians killed by Turkish border guards (Jandarma) since early 2024 in different areas near the Syria-Turkey border has increased to nine. In addition, seven civilians, including a little girl, were injured in gunfire by Turkish Jandarma in the same period. The fatalities are distributed regionally as follows:

 

Areas controlled by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and opposition factions: Five civilians, including a child.

Areas controlled by “Peace Spring” operations room: Two civilians.

Areas controlled by “Manbij Military Council Forces”: One civilian.

Areas controlled by SDF: One civilian.