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At Least 3 Refugees Killed by Turkey-Placed Landmines on Border With Syria

© AP Photo / Vadim GhirdaA soldier walks at a Turkish military outpost overlooking the Syrian city of Kobani on the Turkey-Syria border.
A soldier walks at a Turkish military outpost overlooking the Syrian city of Kobani on the Turkey-Syria border. - Sputnik International
The mines placed by Turkey in 1950s to prevent illegal border crossings now pose a deadly threat to Syrians trying to flee their war-torn country.

A Syrian Kurdish refugee woman - Sputnik International
Turkey Strained by Refugee Crisis as World Shuns Syria: Amnesty Int'l
MOSCOW, December 2 (Sputnik) - At least three civilians have been killed and nine more have been injured by landmines planted by Turkey while attempting to flee Syria, where Islamic State has been advancing since September, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday.

"Landmines placed decades ago by the Turkish military have killed at least three civilians trying to flee Syria and injured at least nine others," a statement published on HRW's website said.

The human rights watchdog noted that Turkey laid the landmines back in 1950s in a bid to avert illegal border crossings. It stressed that thousands more refugees are bound to fall victim to the landmines as the violence in Syria continues.

"To prevent further casualties and protect civilians, Turkey should undertake immediate efforts to safely relocate over 2,000 Syrian refugees remaining in the minefield and educate the refugees about the risk posed by the landmines," HRW urged.

It also added that Turkey should remove all landmines on its territory as more civilians would likely cross into the country.

Steve Goose, HRW arms director and chair of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, was quoted in the statement as saying that "Turkey has the capacity to clear its minefields and should clear them immediately."

"To fall victim to a landmine after losing your home and fleeing your country is a fate no one should have to endure," Goose added.

Thousands of civilians have fled Syria since September where Islamic State has strengthened its positions, in the town of Kobani.

Syrian refugees form an even bigger number when counted from the onset of unrest in the country in 2011. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 3 million Syrians have crossed Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq alone since 2011.

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