On Wednesday evening, 22 June 2022, a young man and two minors tried to access Turkey illegally. They took a smuggling route across from the Kurdish-majority town of Amuda, located north of al-Hasakah province, adjoining the Syria-Turkey border strip.
However, the crossing attempt was brutally met by the Turkish border guards (gendarmerie), stationed along the Syria–Turkey barrier. The guards shot, arrested, and extensively beat the three for over an hour, and ultimately threw them off the barrier into Syrian territory.
Notably, the guards’ response follows the strict measures the Turkish government has been enforcing to bar asylum seekers, particularly Syrians. The guards spearhead a policy of systemic brutality, hinged on beating, torture, and humiliation of those seeking refuge in Turkey.
The guards are perpetrating these abuses across the 911 KM long wall Turkey started building in late 2015. The wall stretches along the Turkish areas of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, and Mardin. The wall consists of seven-tone concrete blocks, each standing four meters high and three meters wide.
On 24 April 2022, Turkey announced they completed the construction of 837 km of the wall. The barrier limited the illegal influx of asylum seekers. However, it rendered several asylum seekers victims of torture and arrest, as they attempted to pass across the wall equipped with high-end security and surveillance technology.
Notably, the border torture cases documented in this report echo in their brutality four similar cases that Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) monitored over the first five months of 2022, and dozens of deaths and hostilities perpetrated against asylum seekers in 2021.
In this report, STJ cites a testimony addressing the abuses inflicted upon three persons, who were arrested and tortured by the Turkish Border Guards while attempting to enter Turkey illegally.
The victims are Dildar Majid Suleiman (18), Dilyar Majid Suleiman (16), and Malik Ghadhban (16). All three hail from Sanjak Saadoun village, which is administratively affiliated with Amuda city, located north of al-Hasakah province.
STJ learned that the three youngsters coordinated with a local smuggler, arrived at the border wall, and attempted access into Turkey by jumping over the concrete fence. However, the border guards fired their arms in their direction, captured, and beat them, before they threw them off the top of the fence.
For a detailed account of the incident, STJ reached out to a relative of both Dildar and Dilyar Suleiman. The relative relayed the events as they happened from the victims:
“Dildar and Dilyar left the village at about 10:00 P.M. Accompanying the house owner, they headed towards Amuda city, where they met the smuggler. They set off from near the Salim Sayid School, located somewhere on the city’s outskirts. Almost at 10:30 P.M., they climbed the border wall. They were surprised by an ambush. Turkish army forces started shooting in their way. The three just froze. The guards arrived at their location and hit them with canes and hoses.”
Quoting Dilyar, a female relative added:
“We were arrested by nearly 25 guards. They beat us for a while, and then one of them asked us: ‘Are you Muslims? Are you Kurds or Arabs?’. They continued beating us extensively across our bodies. They hit us with canes, cables, and hoses. They forced us to take our clothes off and confiscated our possessions. I lost consciousness due to the intense beating. They thought I was dead. We remained this way for about an hour and a half. After this, they threw us over the wall to the other side. We walked away from the wall until we reached a shepherd’s tent. He gave us clothes and helped us to reach the al-Sha’ab (People’s) Hospital in Amuda. There, we managed to call our families. Fortunately, we did not get any permanent or fatal injuries. I had head and eye injuries. My left leg was broken and my whole body was bruised, just like Dildar and Malik.”
A second female relative of the three victims provided STJ with photos showing the traces of torture on their bodies. The same images were circulated on social media in news posted the next day from the border incident.
Image (1) – An image showing marks of torture on three young Syrian men who attempted to cross into Turkey illegally. Credit: A female relative of the victims.
Image (2)- An image showing marks of torture on three young Syrian men who attempted to cross into Turkey illegally. This image is of 18-year-old Dildar. Credit: A female relative of the victims.
Image (3)- An image showing marks of torture on three young Syrian men who attempted to cross into Turkey illegally. Credit: A female relative of the victims.