Riots in Turkish refugee camps after Syrian duo are sent back

Guvecci

Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Turkey have rioted after two fellow asylum-seekers were spirited back to Syria in mysterious circumstances.

Turkish officials claimed the men were sent back after a "mistake in translation" made authorities believe they were economic migrants rather than refugees fleeing repression.

However, the incident – coming after a defecting Syrian soldier was deported earlier this year – has increased tension in camps along the border.

Some of the 400 people who rioted on Monday left the Reyhanli refugee camp to block the road to Syria for about two hours, stopping cars with Syrian licence plates and clashing with local police. A number of people were injured in the unrest.

The two men returned to Syria – Azzam Haj Mahmoud and Omar Mahmoud Asheikh –had arrived in Turkey more than a week ago and were taken to Reyhanli, where some of the more than 8,000 refugees living along the border are based.

Refugees said that after five days the pair were told by camp authorities they had to return to the border to register with a gendarme.

They were driven to the frontier on Saturday and have not been heard from since.

When one refugee, Mahmoud Mosa, contacted Turkish government employees working on the border, he was told the two had been returned to Syria from the Bab al-hawa border gate.

"I alerted the person in charge of regional affairs but he refused to ask about the situation," said Mosa. "He said it was impossible and that he would not ask about it."

Later on Monday Turkish officials told refugees in the camp the men had been sent back after a translation error.

The gendarme had thought the pair had said they had fled north into Turkey to seek work, officials claimed. This is not the first time Turkish authorities have been accused of sending refugees back to Syrian.

In August this year Lt Col Hussein Harmoush, who had emerged as a leader of defected soldiers, disappeared after leaving a Turkish refugee camp.

Two weeks later he appeared on Syrian state television to admit having played a role in the uprising against President Bashar Assad.

"Shall we wait for two more to be sent back?," Essam Haj Mahmoud, the brother of one of the two missing refugees, has now demanded.

Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, was yesterday due to return to its capital Damascus just over six weeks after he left amid fears for his safety.

Mr Ford had angered the regime by voicing support for anti-Government demonstrators.

Washington has insisted his presence in the country is important so he can witness the unrest first-hand.

The development came as Syrian activists yesterday said fresh violence in the city of Homs had killed up to 50 people in 24 hours.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 34 bodies were dumped on the streets after a spate of kidnappings.

The deaths dashed hopes that Syria might be about to soften its approach after agreeing to Arab League demands to let observers into the country.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game