Syrians fleeing Kobane detained by Turkey on suspicion of being militia

The Guardian reports: Syrians fleeing the city of Kobani have been detained at the Turkish border and held without charge on suspicion of being part of the Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG), or People’s Protection Units, the main Syrian-Kurdish militia.

As the battle for Kobani between YPG fighters and Islamic State developed into street battles in the town, the Kurdish militia defending the city told civilians in the town to leave.

“The YPG asked us all to leave. They said it was no longer safe for us,” said Khalid, one of those who tried to cross the border into Turkey.

But once Khalid (not his real name) crossed, he was detained along with at least 231 others, including 10 children, and taken to a small village called Aligor, north of Suruc.

“We are being asked, why did you leave Kobani so late?” Khalid said. “They are accusing some of us as belonging to the YPG.”

On their third day of detention, Khalid said they were in a school auditorium with the windows and doors kept closed most of the day, and only blankets given to them for sleeping on. Those detained were considering burning the blankets in protest, he said.

An earlier attempt at protesting by a hunger strike ended after less than two days because the Turkish security forces guarding them refused to give food to the children, aged between two and 10.

“They said, ‘either you all eat or none of you eat’,” Khalid said. [Continue reading…]

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