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Syrian journalist, family assaulted by Turkish border guards

Published: Updated:

Syrian journalist Mazen al-Shami has sustained bruises and injuries after he and two other male relatives were assaulted by Turkish officers at the border with Syria.

Al-Shami shared photos on Facebook and posted a video on YouTube about the incident, both of which were widely shared among Syrian activists.

Al-Shami, who is known for his opposition to the Syrian regime, posted pictures of himself and other family members with bruises and injuries sustained during the encounter at the border with the Turkish officer.

He wrote: “After nine years of the revolution that’s how I and my family are treated. Thanks to all the revolution officials at home and abroad. A Turkish officer tortured me in front of my family and tortured my children on the Syrian-Turkish border. That was his reaction when he came to know that I was a Syrian journalist.”

The Association of Syrian Journalists, which represents journalists opposed to the Bashar al-Assad regime, quoted al-Shami as saying that the Syrian “opposition did not respond to al-Shami’s request to help him enter Turkey in order to be treated.”

The Association added that al-Shami and his family members were beaten and tortured and were forced to remove grass in a farm near the border after the border guards shaved off their heads. They were later deported back to the Syrian territory through the Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey.

Assault injuries clearly visible

Al-Shami also posted pictures of him, his young son and other family members carrying signs of bruises and injuries.

The video posted on YouTube clearly showed the injuries sustained from the assault.

Al-Shami and his family were among a group fleeing Idlib when they were held for three hours at the Turkish border, al-Shami says. That is when the physical assault on them took place.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed in a recent report that 419 Syrian civilians have been killed, among them 75 children and 38 women, since the Syrian Revolution broke while trying to flee through the Turkish border.

The Turkish army, which is deployed along the Turkish-Syrian border, targets those who try to approach the border with live bullets, while the Observatory confirmed that Turkish army firing continues almost daily.

Several human rights organizations have documented the attacks on civilians by the Turkish border guards. The Human Rights Watch report published last year confirmed that many civilians fleeing the war and trying to enter the Turkish territory were shot at, with many of them killed or injured.