Turkish border guards Saturday night killed eight Syrian refugees consisting of three children, four women and one man as they tried to escape war-torn northern Syria, a human rights watchdog has reported.

This is not the first time Syrian refugees would be shot at the Turkish border since refugees have been making illegal crossing.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a total of 60 Syrian refugees had been shot at the border since the start of the year.

Rami Abdelrahman, founder of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, disclosed that six of this weekend’s casualties were from the same family.

There have been reports of shootings on the border since at least 2013. There has also been fears that the number of incidents has increased since European countries, including Britain, began pressing Turkey to curb migration flows towards Europe late last year.

A senior Turkish official said Turkey was investigating the latest allegations of shootings but was “unable to independently verify the claims”.

He added that Turkey provides humanitarian assistance to displaced persons in northern Syria and follows an open-door policy, which means we admit refugees whose lives are under threat.

Despite this, turkey is building a wall along its southern perimeter, making it harder for Syrians to reach safety.

According to Turkish diplomats, the wall being built is not against animosity towards refugees but due to fears of infiltration by ISIS.

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch allege that Turkey has deported some Syrians back to northern Syria, where ISIS, Syrian rebels, the Syrian government, an al-Qaida franchise and Kurdish forces are all fighting for territory.

Turkey denies the claims.

Author: Ope Adedeji