By The Genocide Report
165,000 civilians are trapped between ISIS and the Turkish border, near the town of Azaz in northern Syria. Humanitarian and rights organizations are calling for Turkey to open the border and offer safe haven.
A statement posted on the UN refugee agency website read, “The UNHCR is deeply concerned about the plight of some 165,000 displaced persons reportedly massing near the Syrian town of Azaz in northern Syria.”
International law allows for the protection and safe passage of refugees, something the UNHCR has had to remind Turkey and others of repeatedly.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it has evacuated its staff and patients from the hospital in al-Salamah and also issued a concern for the people trapped between ISIS and the border citing that “there is nowhere for people to flee as the fighting gets closer.”
The town of Azaz in Aleppo province near the Turkish border, is one of a several villages captured by Islamic State militants and hosts tens of thousands of internally displaced people. Fighting has now reached within two miles of the town.
Human Rights Watch released findings that Turkish border guards have assaulted and shot at Syrian asylum seekers trying to reach safety. Gerry Simpson, senior researcher for HRWs refugee program said, “The fact Turkey is generously hosting more than 2.5 million Syrians does not give it a right to shut its border to other endangered Syrians.”
The sentiment is shared by activists and humanitarian workers around the world.
The UN stopped keeping an official count in 2014, but estimates that at least 400,000 have been killed in the civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year. Nearly 5 million Syrians have become refugees in neighboring countries and nearly 8 million are internally displaced.
While Turkey keeps its border closed, the lives of at least 165,000 people are in peril.
Featured Image: Turkey has closed its border to all but seriously injured Syrians (File: Osman Orsal/Reuters)