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MIDEAST > Turkey denies reports of Syrian refugees’ deportation

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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A group of Syrian refugees pelted security forces with stones after a faulty electrical supply outlet led to a fire that killed a child and wounded two others. DHA photo

A group of Syrian refugees pelted security forces with stones after a faulty electrical supply outlet led to a fire that killed a child and wounded two others. DHA photo

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

Turkey has denied reports claiming that it has deported 600 Syrians staying at a refugee camp in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Akçakale district after clashing with Turkish security forces in protest at living conditions.

“We refute the deportation claims; nearly 500 people return every day to Syria of their own free will. The status we provide for Syrian refugees is temporary protection; without their will, not a single Syrian national can be sent back,” a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News by phone on condition of anonymity.

A group of Syrian refugees pelted security forces yesterday with stones after a faulty electrical outlet led to a fire that killed a child and wounded two others in Akçakale. Some 1,500 Syrians threw stones at administrative buildings and cars belonging to security officials in protest at safety measures and living conditions in the tent city.

Earlier reports based on statements from a camp official speaking on condition of anonymity said Turkey had sent nearly 600 of refugees back to Syria after the clashes.

The first official also said only 100 people had returned after yesterday’s protests, not 600.

Turkish officials only accompany returnees in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) until the Turkish-Syrian border, he added.

Unrest over 'Assad row'


Turkish diplomatic sources said the unrest was between two groups of Syrian refugees over a dispute in which one group blamed the other for being supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The group which was accused of being pro-al-Assad willingly demanded to return Syria since [their safety could be endangered],” a diplomatic source told the Daily News.


March/28/2013

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