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UN says Turkey should investigate reports of rescuers being shot

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The United Nations (UN)’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (L) speaks during a press conference at the UN’s offices in Geneva, February 1, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on Ankara to investigate reports that a number of unarmed people trying to attend to the injured victims of clashes in Turkey’s southeast in late January were themselves shot at.

Ten people were injured when their group, which included two opposition politicians, came under fire while trying to help people injured in earlier clashes in the southeastern town of Cizre in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast on January 20.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described as “extremely shocking” footage filmed of the incident, which purportedly shows what appear to be a man and woman holding white flags and pushing a cart – possibly carrying bodies – across a street before being shot.

“As they reach the other side, they are apparently cut down in a hail of gunfire,” Zeid said in a statement.

He also expressed concern that the cameraman, who was injured in the shooting, may face arrest under a “clampdown on media.”

Turkey has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly July bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accused the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.


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