Amnesty says Turkey illegally sending Syrians back to war zone

April 1, 2016 18:23

Turkey has illegally returned thousands of Syrians to their war-torn homeland in recent months, highlighting dangers for migrants sent back from Europe under a deal due to take effect next week, Amnesty International said on Friday.

Turkey agreed with the EU this month to take back all migrants and refugees who cross illegally to Greece in exchange for financial aid, faster visa-free travel for Turks and slightly accelerated EU membership talks.

But the legality of the deal hinges on Turkey being a safe country of asylum, which the rights group said in a report was not the case.
Amnesty said it was likely that several thousand refugees had been sent back to Syria in the past seven to nine weeks, flouting Turkish, EU and international law.

Turkey's foreign ministry denied Syrians were being sent back against their will, while a spokesman for the European Commission said it took the allegations seriously and would raise them with Ankara.

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