Refugees seeking asylum in Turkey from Syria are facing a tough time. Several countries suffer from infiltration at the borders. India is not an exception either. Several immigrants from Bangladesh continue to percolate through the Indo-Bangla border and build settlements here.
But Turkey has taken a rather brutal stance on its border issue.
Refugees found crossing over from Syria are being shot to death.
Over the past 4 months more than 16 refugees have been killed by Turkish border forces, says one report.
These include three children! Word is round that anyone trespassing will be greeted with the same fate.
But how did things get so bad in the first place?
The Syrian Refugee Crisis
For the last five years, Syria has been under incessant turmoil. It all began during the Arab Spring against the regime of Bashar Al Assad. The violent uprising led to a state of chaos and confusion in the country. Internal strife, looting, plundering and murder were common. Then the so called Islamic State occupied large swathes of Syria taking advantage of the situation. A reign of terror followed, adding to the woes of the Syrians.
A direct result of the Syrian Civil War was the mass exodus of Syrians to the neighboring country of Turkey.
Turkey was quite lenient with its neighbor at the beginning.
It has allowed as many as 2 million Syrian Refugees into the mainland. If you visit the Aleppo border you will see a cornucopia of tents. They have all been set up by the Turkish government to help their Muslim brothers settle at the border. The government takes care to distribute food and drinking water to the refugees on a regular basis.
Everyday trucks arrive from across the Turkish border delivering the stipulated quantum of ration.
A refugee-burdened Turkey
But the Syrians are not satisfied being stranded at the border. They eagerly await the Turkish state to open the doors and let them in. The EU has been constantly urging the Turkish government to let the Syrians in. But the response from Turkey has been a cold NO.
But Turkey has its own reasons to say no to the Syrians. Ever since the Syrian civil war started, Turkey has sheltered more than 2 million refugees from Syria. It has reached its capacity to sustain immigrants.
The Jihadist Highway
Another apprehension is that an open border will allow IS jihadists to enter Turkey in the guise of refugees. The refugees were hitherto allowed to cross over without having to show their passports. No wonder the Turkish-Syrian border has been dubbed the ‘Jihadist Highway’.
But in spite of several warnings, the refugees try to sneak in through the border, often succeeding in the attempt. Reaching the limit of its patience, Turkey has decided to reply to such attempts at infiltration with Guns.
The Syrian refugees stranded at the border have a tough time ahead. While they cannot return to the Syrian mainland in fear of being taken prisoner by the Islamic state, they are not welcome to their neighboring country either.
The lives of the Syrian refugees seem to have reached an impasse.
While Turkey cannot go on accepting refugees into their territory, killing them is not a alternative either. The United Nations and the EU must step in if there are further reports of refugee killings. The Human Rights groups must speak out against the matter.
What destiny has in store for these refugees remains to be seen.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.