Syrian refugee teen physically assaulted in southern Turkey

A Syrian woman and her children walk on a street near shops in Gaziantep, in the south-west province of Turkey, on May 1, 2018. - In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, home to around half a million Syrians who fled the civil war south of the border, hundreds of Syrian businesses are thriving in a boost both for the displaced community and their host country. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

A 15-year-old Syrian refugee was brutally beaten by the family of a friend over a game dispute in the southern province of Gaziantep, the Evrensel news website reported.

The youngster, identified only by initials A.Z., was severely beaten on Tuesday and left to die by the father and uncle of the friend, according to the report.

The victim was hospitalized after being found by some locals, and the suspects were detained and arrested.

A statement released by the local governor’s office confirmed the incident and said the alleged perpetrators had a prior criminal record for aggravated assault.

Since 2012 Turkey has accepted more than 3 million Syrians fleeing the war-torn neighboring country.

In recent years the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been faced with increasing public hostility to migrants, including in parts of its voter base.

Fueled by segments of the opposition, the anti-migrant sentiment has been exacerbated by the downturn in the economy and has led to numerous incidents of apparent hate crime, which resulted in deaths and injuries.

Human rights groups complain of the climate of impunity which they say emboldens the attackers.

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