Activists and a monitoring group on Sunday reported the death of at least 11 Syrians, mostly from one family, attempting to cross into Turkey from northwestern Syria. The reports accused Turkish border patrol responsible for the shooting which took down the refugees.
At least two women and four children were among those killed in the shootings overnight as the refugees sought to cross into Turkey from the border village of Khirbet al Jouz, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
On one hand, Turkish military officials denied the reports; while on the other hand, several activists in the area backed up the report.
“Claims that Turkish soldiers killed nine people that were trying to cross the border in Hatay province … are not true. Last night there was an attempt to cross the border illegally but no shots were fired directly on people,” a Turkish military statement said.
“After warning shots, a group of seven to eight people ran towards the woods,” it said. Turkey, a major sponsor of the Syrian Opposition trying to free their country from dictatorship, has mostly closed its borders to Syrian refugees, for security reasons. Nevertheless, Syrians whose lives are under imminent threat are granted admission.
Turkey also hosts some 2.7 million registered Syrian refugees, about 280,000 of whom live in camps.
Noteworthy, rockets launched from Syrian territory and controlled by ISIS militants have regularly struck Turkish border towns and killing at least 20 people in recent months.