Turkey handed over 60 Kurdish migrants to militant groups in Syria: watchdog

Volunteers help migrants and refugees on a dingy as they arrive at the shore of the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, March 20, 2016. (AP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Turkey has handed over nearly 60 people from the Kurdistan Region to militant groups in Syria, a refugee organization said on Tuesday.

Ari Jalal, head of Lutka Foundation for Refugee and Displaced Affairs, said the Kurdish migrants were detained by Turkish police in Izmir as they were trying to cross into Greece.

The migrants were held at a refugee camp in Gaziantep for over 10 days before they were handed over to Turkish-backed militant groups in Syria, he added.

“Today, those migrants were handed over to the militant groups in Syria by the Turkish security forces,” Jalal told Esta Media Network.

“We have made efforts to bring the migrants home just like other migrants who were given to those groups in Syria in 2017 and 2018,” he noted.

There are no women or children among the migrants who are residents of Sulaimani and Erbil provinces, he said.

In October 2020, the Kurdistan parliament’s committee of relations and Kurdish diaspora said nearly 14,500 youths from the Region had migrated to European countries in the year due to economic crisis, political situation, injustice and corruption.

Twenty-seven had gone missing, it added.

Nearly 450,000 people in the Region and Iraq had migrated to Europe between 2014 and 2020, according to the parliament’s committee.

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