Turkey has expelled four Syrians working for a Danish aid agency, a new move in a crackdown on international NGOs, IRIN can now report. Their destination: Khartoum, Sudan, 3,000 kilometres away. No aid agency has previously confirmed deportations of Syrian staff from Turkey. The destination of Sudan was chosen to avoid a dangerous return to Syria, the NGO told IRIN.
In a statement, DCA said the staffers’ lives “would have been in imminent danger” had they been deported to Syria. The staff, one woman and three men, of DanChurchAid (DCA), had been detained for two months. The DCA operation was shut down by Turkish authorities after failing to get formal registration. It’s one of several NGOs using Turkey as a base for operations in Syria that have also been closed and their staff laid off.
The Danish NGO reported that “the four Syrians were released on the condition that they leave Turkey”. Another five DCA non-Syrian staff had already been expelled to their home countries, while another Syrian was able to travel to Germany on an existing visa.
Lisa Henry, humanitarian director of DCA, told IRIN the Sudan option was not Turkey’s decision. It emerged from a limited range of choices, she said, but added: “anything is better than detention or being sent back to Syria.”
Source: News Now/IRIN