Syrian teenager stabbed to death in southern Turkey’s Hatay province

A young Syrian man was stabbed to death on Sunday in an apparent hate crime in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay, according to the Duvar news site reported.

Faris Muhammed Al-Ali, 17, was attacked by five people as he was walking with a friend after his shift. The two were taken to a secluded location where Al-Ali was stabbed and his friend was struck in the head.

Al-Ali’s friend said he shouted for help, but no one came. Al-Ali had lost too much blood by the time paramedics arrived and died shortly after being taken to hospital. Authorities later announced that the alleged perpetrators had been arrested.

Al-Ali allegedly accidentally hit a co-worker in the factory where he worked. A group of five men, including the co-worker’s son, confronted him on Sunday evening and demanded to know if he had met the woman intentionally. Although Al-Ali said it was an accident and apologized, the group did not believe him.

Al-Ali had lost his father during the Syrian civil war and lived with his mother and brother in Hatay. This year, he was going to start his studies at the medical school of Balıkesir University and had worked at the factory to cover his tuition.

People expressed outrage at his death on social media and accused politicians of stoking anti-migrant sentiment. Ümit Özdağ, leader of the far-right, anti-refugee Victory Party (ZP), has been particularly criticized for spearheading anti-refugee propaganda in Turkey.

“The blood of this young man is on the hands of Ümit Özdağ,” one social media user said.

“Al-Ali’s death is the result of constant anti-migrant propaganda,” said another.

Refugees in Turkey are increasingly the target of hate speech and hate crimes and are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic problems.

Hate crimes against refugees and migrants have intensified in recent years as Turkish media, including pro-government and opposition media, fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against people who have fled their country and sought refuge in Turkey.

Anti-migrant sentiment has also been expressed by opposition politicians. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has promised to send Syrians home if his party comes to power in the 2023 elections.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who faces growing public anger over refugees and is wary of the issue that will dominate next year’s presidential election, said earlier this month that Ankara aimed to encourage 1 million refugees to return home by building housing and local infrastructure in Syria.

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