Syrian Refugees at Turkey Border Share Chilling Accounts of Atrocities at Home

Haaretz's Anshel Pfeffer reports from the Syrian-Turkish border: 23 refugees arrive at border in abandoned ambulance; Turkish police take refugees to recently erected refugee camp.

Refugees fleeing the restive north-Syrian city of Jisr al-Shughour continued to flood the Turkish border Sunday, bringing with them chilling accounts of the atrocities taking place in Syria.

"It's impossible to tell who is against whom," Mohamed Hashnawe, who arrived at the Turkish border in an abandoned ambulance, told Haaretz.

Syrian refugees in Turkey June 10, 2011 (Reuters)
A Syrian refugee walks with her children at the Altinozu refugee camp near the Turkey-Syria border, June 10, 2011.Reuters

Hashnawe, a student from Jisr al-Shughour, said that he drove the ambulance with 22 other refugees on board. They reached the passage near the town of Al-Hamsya, where they were met by Turkish police.

The police took them to a new, recently erected refugee camp made of hundreds of tents, some of which have already been occupied.

"Soldiers are shooting other soldiers that have refused to shoot at civilians," Hashnawe said, yet another testimony proving that the 120 soldiers Syrian state television has claimed were killed by "armed gangs" were in fact executed for their refusal to kill opponents to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Syrian soldiers have continued their rampage on Jisr al-Shughour, attacking nearby northern towns as well.

Silmanya Mohamed Migdan, a Jisr al-Shughour resident who fled to Turkey late Saturday told Haaretz that at 5:00 in the morning the day before plainclothes police officers surrounded the town.

Three hundred civilians were able to flee the north Syria town, however security forces managed to shoot at the elderly who were unable to escape, killing at least one man who was 70-years-old.

The region near Turkey's border has a history of hostility toward the Syrian regime and is posing the biggest challenge yet to President Bashar Assad's struggle to crush the anti-government revolt. Thousands of Syrians in the region have crossed into Turkey in recent days, taking sanctuary in refugee camps.

A senior Turkish diplomat said 4,300 Syrian refugees had crossed the border and were being cared for in hospitals and camps, but a Western diplomat said the number was higher and witnesses said some 10,000 were sheltering near the border.