Syrian refugee deported by Turkey killed during return from Syria - Washington Post

A 21-year old Syrian refugee, who was deported by Turkish authorities to Syria’s northern province of Idlib in June, was shot and killed on Sunday while trying to illegally cross the Turkish border, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Hisham al-Mohammed was arrested after the police raided his family’s apartment in Istanbul late one night in May and was deported several weeks later to Syria despite having an identity permit that allowed him to live in Istanbul, his father Mustafa al-Mohammed told the Washington Post.

Hisham was shot a few hundred yards away from the border wall where he stopped to pray while walking with other Syrians toward the Turkey border, according to his father, who told Washington Post he had spoken to a friend and a relative traveling with his son.

Turkish authorities have stepped up efforts to implement measures against 3.6 million Syrians in Turkey, following local polls in March.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) faced its biggest upset in decades in elections, losing five of the six most populous provinces. Anti-Syrian sentiments among the AKP base is seen by analysts as an important factor that affected the election outcome.

Turkey’s interior minister has escalated its efforts to curb illegal migration, while in Istanbul the governor’s office set Aug. 20 was deadline for Syrian refugees return to the provinces they were registered upon arrival in the country. However, refugees and refuge rights activists say Turkey has already started deportations of Syrians, by forcing those caught during law-enforcement agencies’ checks to sign voluntary return documents.

Hisham, who worked as a tailor, was the only member of his family with steady work and had left his wife and three young children in Turkey, his father told Washington Post.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about Hisham’s arrest and deportation, or the allegation that he had been shot by Turkish personnel, the newspaper said.