Turkey has detained two shopkeepers accused of savagely beating two teenage Syrians with clubs after spotting them stealing bread in the south of the country, reports said yesterday.
Security camera footage, which caused outrage on social media, showed two men racing out of their shops in the Hatay region of southern Turkey as the two teens took several loaves of flatbread from a display case.
The video, published by the Hurriyet newspaper on its website, shows the pair brandishing clubs and pummelling the boys, who sink to their knees as they are forced against a wall by the blows.
The boys are then made to put the bread back in the display case under the weight of more blows.
One sprawls on the pavement in agony while one of the shopkeepers then kicks the other boy.
Onlookers are seen intervening, as police and emergency services arrive.
The two Syrians, aged 16 and 18, were hospitalised but released the same day.
Meanwhile, the two small business owners, named as M.T. and V.Z., were detained on suspicion of “causing intentional injury”, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.
Hurriyet said the two boys were also sent to court and faced being charged with theft.
Turkey is hosting more than 2.7mn refugees from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
Only a quarter of a million live in refugee camps, with the rest living in Turkish towns and cities.
The incident took place on April 1 in Antakya, the main city of the Hatay region just north of the Syrian border which is home to a large concentration of refugees.
The government is usually keen to play up the warm welcome extended by Turks to Syrians, saying that despite the social and economic burden there have been no instances of tensions.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Irish rock legend Bono last month there had not been a “a single anti-Arab, anti-Syrian, anti-refugee protest” since Turkey began hosting refugees after the Syrian civil war began more than five years ago.
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