Turkish police has detained nine Iranian Kurdish asylum seekers and 57 others from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq near Istanbul on 21 August.

On 24 August, authorities have deported these civilians to Syria’s north-western Azaz, raising concerns about their fate.

The nine asylum seekers officially entered Turkey from Iran in the past few months and were trying to reach Europe by boat.

Reportedly, the names of these individuals are Damavand Pak-Seresht, Mobin Valad-Beygi, Afshar Rostami, Bahman Shadravan, Masoud Heydari, Saeid Ahmadi, Fardin Darvishpour, Hedayat Rokhzadi, and Arman Rashidi-Hossein.

Turkish police detained these individuals in a forested area near Istanbul, said a relative of one of them in an interview with the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).

On 24 August, the Kurdish asylum seekers contacted their families and said the Turkish government was deporting them to Syria after they introduced themselves as Syrian citizens, the relative said.

“After being transferred to the Syrian border, the asylum seekers told the Turkish police that they were Iranian citizens and showed pictures of their passports to prove their claim. However, after being separated from the civilians coming from the Kurdistan Region [of Iraq], they were deported separately to Syria’s north-western city of Azaz.”

The source further stated that the families have not been able to contact the asylum seekers since 24 August, which has raised concerns about their fate.

The source who spoke to the KHRN on 14 September said: “The person who was supposed to transfer these people to Europe informed their relatives today that after his follow-ups, he found out that all nine people were taken to a camp in the Syrian city of Azaz. The Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces have asked for 2,000 USD for the release of each one of them.”