Thirteen migrants freeze to death near the Turkey-Iran border

Thirteen irregular migrants froze to death in the Turkish city of Caldiran shortly after crossing the Iranian border, the Human Rights Association of Van province said.

The migrants’ nationalities were not confirmed but some local media outlets suggest that three of the dead are Kurdish nationals from the Syrian city of Kobani. The others are suspected to be Afghans.

“A woman called Caldiran gendarmerie that 13 migrants have died suffering from hypothermia shortly after they entered a mountainous area that borders Iran,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency says.

Search and rescue teams and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) were sent to the area but “the road was closed to traffic due to a heavy snowstorm,” Van governor Mehmet Elin Bilmez told Anadolu.

“We have informed Iranian authorities about the incident,” he added.

Describing the incident as “the shame of humanity”, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) asked Ankara and Tehran to “find a solution” to such deaths.

HDP calls for an investigation with no delay “to uncover the networks that are responsible for the murder of refugees.”

Another group of undocumented migrants was rescued in a five-hour operation by the gendarmerie officers in the district of Gevaş. The group was suspected to consist of 49 Afghan nationals. They,managed to contact the officers when they started suffering from hypothermia and were all hospitalised.

TMP – 28/02/2020

Photo credit: Cem OZER

Photo caption: Akdamar Church in van in Turkey