Syrian refugees continue to be shot at the Turkish – Syrian border, news reported this week. ECRE’s German member Pro Asyl links the silence of European politicians towards these shootings directly to the interest to manage refugee flows to the Union through the EU Turkey Deal.

According to news reports, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that during the last year 163 Syrians have been shot death at the Turkish-Syrian border. Among the deaths were 30 children. Also German newspaper Spiegel Online collected testimonies during the last months of people witnessing the shootings. Already in May Human Rights Watch documented shooting, beating and illegal push-backs of Syrian refugees at the Turkish border.

As of November 2016 Turkey hosts 2.6 mil Syrian refugees – currently the largest population of refugees anywhere in the world.  More restrictive measures towards Syrians have been taken by the government.n September this year the Turkish government stated that it would finish the construction of a wall along its 900km long border with Syria by spring 2017. The first stretch of the wall has been completed after construction began in 2014.  In January this year Turkey introduced visa requirements for Syrians entering the country.

Karl Kopp, Pro Asyl’s Director of European Affairs told ECRE: “The silence of Europe on the fatal shootings at the Turkish-Syrian border speaks volumes. For people who flee   before war and terror in Syria, all escape routes are closed. Already on 7 January 2016, Turkey had introduced the visa requirement for Syrian refugees from third countries – under applause from the EU.  The suffering of the fugitives in the Turkish border area is also the result of European refugee policy.”

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