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14,000 Syrians deported in 3 months, Turkey begins to fidget

Syrian Refugees | 2019-08-13 00:27:04
14,000 Syrians deported in 3 months, Turkey begins to fidget
(Zaman Al Wasl)- The number of deported Syrian refugees from Turkey to northern Syria has reached a total of 14,000, according to statement by Bab al-Hawa border crossing issued Sunday.

Since Turkey’s government accelerated a crackdown on Syrian refugees, arresting thousands of people and deporting untold numbers back to Syria, the refugees and their advocates have warned that the policy could be fatal as the migrants were returned to a war zone. 

The deportation raise troubling questions about Turkey’s evolving policy toward the more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees the country hosts, according to the Foreign Policy. 

Turkey has been considered a haven for refugees throughout Syria’s civil war, with the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan providing visitors with access to services such as education and medical care, official identity papers and a measure of protection.    

Journalist and human rights activist Mansour al-Omari says the forcible return of refugees to their home country is not related to their classification as refugees, guests or other names, but also violates the obligations of States to other treaties, such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” ratified by Turkey in 1988, Lebanon in 2000, and Jordan in 1991.

The arrests, mostly in Istanbul, have spurred many Syrian refugees to go into hiding. Turkish officials have said the roundups are aimed at returning Syrians to Turkish cities where they are permitted to reside — a measure designed to ensure that no city or town is overwhelmed. Officials have also denied carrying out involuntary deportations, Foreign Policy reported. 

Turkey must grant the refugees a reasonable time to seek legal admission in another country, according to al-Omari.

Forcible return of Syrian refugees to their country is a violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention and a violation of Turkey's international obligations, since the prohibition of refoulement is part of customary international law, applicable even on countries that did not sign the convention such as Lebanon and Jordan.

Bab al-Hawa border crossing said At least 6160 refugees were deported in July, 4370 in June, and 3316 in May.

The Rights activist pointed out that Turkey has ratified the Refugee Convention of 1951 and its Protocol of 1967, but set a condition that excludes non-Europeans from obtaining full asylum, that is, Turkey does not grant full refugee status to Syrians, emphasizing that this exception does not give Turkey the right to deportation. Thus, Turkey is violating its obligations under the agreements signed by deporting Syrians. The laws of the Turkish state itself prohibit deportation to danger even if the refugee does not hold the status of temporary protection granted by the state.

EU countries, the United States and others have poured money into Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to help Syrian refugees. But they should monitor Syria's neighbors' compliance with the Refugee Convention and relevant international laws, and exert pressure to prevent abuses, al-Omari says.

 Activists demanded the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to follow up with what is going on in Turkey, intervene to stop the deportation, and send the files of the people the Turkish government wants to deport to other countries for resettlement.

Zaman Al Wasl
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