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Six Syrians killed in road accident during deportation from Turkey

The deportations are spurred by the changing political climate in Turkey. [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 September, 2019

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A military vehicle overturned in Turkey's southern Hatay province, killing six people and wounding 27 others.
At least six Syrians were killed when the military vehicle they were in overturned in Hatay, a Turkish province bordering Syria.

The group were being deported from Turkey back to Syria, the local governorate said.

The crash in Hatay’s Reyhanli district wounded 27 others, including two military personnel, the statement said, adding that an investigation had been launched into the accident.

Turkey, which used to have a generous asylum policy for Syrians escaping war, launched a crackdown on refugees in July and has deported thousands of Syrians to Idlib province.

The deportations are spurred by the changing political climate in Turkey, as the ruling AKP party adopt forceful anti-refugee policies after losing the Istanbul mayoral election.

Read more: The risk of return: Why going home is not an option for all Syrians

In recent years, public opinion has turned against the party’s previously generous policies towards the estimated 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

A survey published in July by Kadir Has University in Istanbul showed growing hostility towards Syrian refugees in the city, rising from 54.5 percent of respondents in 2017 to 67.7 percent in 2019.

The hashtag #SyriansOut became part of the discourse during the municipal elections this year - with many complaining about the number of Arabic signs appearing on shops in Istanbul and elsewhere.

Despite the mass deportations, Syrians are still desperate to flee Idlib, the last opposition-held area of Syria, which faces a near daily campaign of bombing and shelling by the Syrian regime and its Russian backers.

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