Three Syrian men were killed in an alleged hate crime in Turkey’s İzmir province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Monday.
According to the SOHR, a UK-based information office that documents human rights abuses in Syria, a Turkish man allegedly poured gasoline over the Syrians while they were asleep and set them on fire on November 16.
The three Syrians were identified as Mamoun al-Nabhan, 23; Ahmed al-Ali, 21; and Muhammed el-Bish, 17. SOHR said there had been no prior dispute between the Syrian men and the perpetrator. No further details about the incident were provided.
The news sparked outrage among social media users, who demanded Turkish authorities launch an investigation into the allegations.
Refugees in Turkey have been increasingly targeted by hate speech and hate crimes and are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles.
Turkish media including pro-government and opposition outlets fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against people who fled their countries and sought refuge in Turkey.
Anti-migrant sentiment has also been expressed by opposition politicians. Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has promised to send Syrians back home if his party comes to power.
In August a group of locals attacked Syrian refugees, their houses, workplaces and cars in Ankara’s Altındağ district, chanting anti-Syrian and fascist slogans. Images on social media showed dozens of angry people throwing rocks at homes, smashing shops and cars and burning merchandise looted from shops believed to belong to Syrian refugees.
Syrian refugee Abdulkadir Davud, 21, was shot dead on August 18, 2020 in what appeared to be a hate crime in the Zeytinburnu district of İstanbul. On September 13, 2020 16-year-old Syrian Eymen Hammami was stabbed to death in another alleged hate crime in the Black Sea city of Samsun.
According to the latest figures provided by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on November 22, Turkey is home to a total of 4,038,857 refugees from around the world. Speaking to parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee, Soylu said 3,731,028 of these were Syrian refugees who are residing in Turkey under temporary protection status. The number of refugees with international protection status is 307,829.