Villagers file suit against ministry over stray bullets from Syria

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- The relatives of two villagers, who were killed last year due to stray bullets fired from Syria in a border village in the southern province of IanlIurfa, have filed a suit for damages against the Interior Ministry on the grounds that the ministry failed to take necessary security measures in the village while fighting continued in Syria very close to the Turkish border.

The civil war in Syria has now been going on for more than three years, with 11 people in Turkey killed due to stray bullets fired during clashes in Syria’s border cities.

On July 26, 2013, Iukru Kahraman was shot by a stray bullet fired from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain during clashes between the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — a Syrian offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front rebel group while Kahraman was working on his farm in a village in CeylanpInar, a district of IanlIurfa province on the border with Syria. Kahraman died at the scene.

Idris Akgul was killed by a stray bullet from Syria on Oct. 28, 2013, while he was sleeping at his house in a village in CeylanpInar.

The families of the two deceased men accuse the Interior Ministry of failing to protect citizens. They recently filed a suit for damages of TL 380,000 for the deaths of two villagers against the Interior Ministry on the grounds that the ministry failed to form a buffer zone around the Turkish border with Syria to ensure its citizens’ safety and also failed to evacuate citizens from border villages in the district to protect them from any possible attack or stray bullets from the Syrian side.

The suit was filed with the IanlIurfa Administrative Court on Wednesday by the families’ lawyer, Muhammed NeIet Girasun, who said he filed this suit on behalf of Akgul’s three children and 12 siblings, and Kahraman’s wife and five children.

Girasun stated in the suit’s petition: “Five Turkish citizens in Akçakale and six in CeylanpInar were killed by Oct. 28, 2013 due to explosives or bullets that came from Syria. A distance of 20 to 30 meters separate CeylanpInar and the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain. These two locations are only separated by wire fences. Thus, CeylanpInar is one of the places that has been most affected by the ongoing civil war in Syria. Life has been turned upside down in the district. Education has been suspended. People who were engaging in their daily routines and even those who slept in their own homes have been killed.”

Girasun also stated in the petition that the ministry had failed to protect the citizens and thus failed to perform its constitutional duty.

Started in March 2011 as a bid to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian civil war was part of the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia and spread throughout the Arab world as a revolutionary wave in 2010. Though many assumed the opposition would topple Assad at some point, the embattled leader of Syria still holds on to control and has caused the bloody war to continue for more than two years.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)