Frozen bodies of 12 refugees found in Van countryside

Bodies of 12 refugees have been found in the border area in Van countryside. Bodies of dozens of refugees are said to be buried under snow in the border region.

Dozens of refugees arrive daily in the province of Van which borders Iran. Hundreds of refugees from many countries, mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Central Asia, come to Kurdish and Turkish cities via Van province. Hardly a day passes without death among the refugees whose movements are connived at by the Turkish state.

The flow of refugees into Van continues despite the presence of Turkish military stations and watch towers every hundred meter in the border area covered by the districts of Çaldıran, Özalp and Başkale. The majority of the refugees brought to Çaldıran by human traffickers are deliberately left to die in the border region. Dozens of such refugees have frozen to death in the border area in the recent year, while those surviving are living under challenging circumstances in Van city centre and its districts.

With the onset of spring, bodies of 12 refugees have been found in Çaldıran area during the past 10 days. The first body was found on 11 March, 4 others on 12 March and 7 more on 14 March.

It was previously reported that 13 refugees –3 Kurds from Kobanê and 10 Afghans- had frozen to death while trying to cross the border into Sarıçimen village of Çaldıran on 9 February 2019. No rescue efforts were made to find the bodies though.

Human traffickers, who have no security consideration, bring hundreds of refugees to Çaldıran, Erciş, Van and surrounding cities almost on daily basis. While dozens of refugees are left to die every year, bodies of hundreds of refugees brought by human traffickers into the region are said to be buried under snow. Although it is not possible to confirm this, the tragedy is self-evident to be witnessed.

According to human rights activists, at least 37 refugees froze to death in Van in 2019. In July 2019, as a result of an accident involving a vehicle carrying refugees, 17 people died and 50 were injured. Most recently, more than 30 refugees who were abandoned on the lake shore in Van on 9 February were found almost frozen.