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TURKEY illegally deported Syrian refugees ahead of their anticipated “safe zone” action, Amnesty International (AI) said yesterday.
Turkish police beat and threatened refugees into signing documents stating they were asking to return to war zones in Syria, the organisation found through interviews.
Others were told that they were signing a registration document which confirmed that they had received a blanket from a detention centre, or a form that expressed their desire to remain in Turkey.
The government has claimed that those who returned to Syria did so voluntarily.
Records from the Turkish authorities claim that 315,000 people have returned to Syria voluntarily.
AI researcher on refugee and migrants’ rights Anna Shea said: “Turkey’s claim that refugees from Syria are choosing to walk straight back into the conflict is dangerous and dishonest.
“The European Union and the rest of the international community, instead of devoting their energies to keeping people seeking asylum from their territories, should dramatically increase resettlement commitments for Syrian refugees from Turkey.”
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