This 23-year-old Kurdish man has reportedly been beheaded by jihadists in Syria after he was deported back home by Turkish authorities.
Betal Hesen has reportedly been executed by Islamist militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist organisation after he was deported by the Turkish authorities and taken back to an area of northern Syria’s Idlib Governorate controlled by the militants.
Hesen, who was Kurdish, had reportedly been arrested in Turkey’s Hatay province which borders Syria eight months ago and was recently deported to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing.
His uncle Mustafa Hassan told local media that HTS had then arrested some of those deported from Turkey and were demanding ransoms of up to 10,000 USD to release them.
Hassan said he had hired a lawyer in Turkey and a lawyer in Syria to follow the case. The grieving uncle said the Syrian lawyer was preparing to present the case to the court when he was informed that the 23-year-old had already been beheaded by the group.
Hassan asked for human rights organisations to launch an investigation and pursue the case, adding: “This is what Jabhat al-Nusra (one of the groups which founded HTS) is doing to Kurdish sons, they have beheaded him before there was even a trial on 2nd May”.
Bassam al-Ahmad, Executive Director of Syrians for Truth and Justice, said that HTS have been known to commit crimes against civilians under false accusations, saying they sometimes demand money to save the victims from execution.
He added: “We have documented cases of people deported by Turkey and some of them were arrested [by the HTS] because they were Kurds.”
Amnesty International said in October 2019 that it is illegal to deport people to Syria as doing so exposes them to a serious risk of human rights violations, with the organisation underlining the message for the Turkish authorities.
Elizabeth Tsurkov, who works at the Middle East Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told local media that Turkey had deported around 90,000 Syrians in the second half of 2019, adding that “Turkey’s deportations are a clear violation of the non-refoulement principle that is part of customary international law”.
Most of the international community, including the United Kingdom and the United States, considers Tahrir al-Sham to be a terrorist organisation.
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