20 Jun 2016

Turkey border guards 'shot Syrian children'

11:25 am on 20 June 2016

Turkish border guards have shot dead at least 11 Syrians, mostly from one family, as they tried to cross into Turkey from northwestern Syria, a human rights monitor says.

Turkish border guards have shot dead at least 11 Syrians, mostly from one family, as they tried to cross into Turkey from Syria, a human rights monitor says.

This woman, seen receiving medical treatment, told the BBC five members of her family were shot and and she was injured in the shooting. Photo: SCREENSHOT / BBC

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least two women and four children were among those killed as the refugees sought to cross into Turkey from the border village of Khirbet al Jouz.

Several activists in the area backed up the report.

It said it has documented the deaths of nearly 60 civilians shot by Turkish boarder guards trying to flee from Syria since the start of the year.

Turkey said it is being unjustly accused, and is under immense pressure from the EU to stop Syrians trying to travel to Europe.

"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.

"After warning shots, a group of seven to eight people ran toward the woods," one Turkish military source said.

Turkey, a major sponsor of groups fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has now closed its borders with Syria, but it also hosts almost three million registered Syrian refugees, many living in camps.

Rockets launched from Syrian territory controlled by Islamic State militants have regularly struck Turkish border towns and have killed at least 20 people in recent months.

Humanitarian bodies have urged Turkey to reopen its borders to admit Syrians fleeing the conflict.

-Reuters / BBC

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs