• The driver of the van disregarded a stop sign installed by the Turkish Military
  • There were families and children in the minivan that accommodated 40 migrants
  • Van province is a transit route for migrants from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.

A four-year-old Afghan child was killed after Turkish security forces opened fire at a vehicle carrying a group of migrants, officials said.

The military fired at the minivan when it defied the stop sign at the military checkpoint in the eastern Turkish province of Van on Sunday, the governor of Van told the local papers.

When the vehicle refused to stop, the military shot at the tires, but the bullets ricocheted and injured the people, killing the child, CNN reported.

The boy's DNA has been sent for examination to identify him, a local official from the office of Van governor told the outlet.

“It was determined that the vehicle was used in migrant smuggling and that there were 40 irregular migrants in it,” a statement released to the press by the governor of Van Sunday read. “Unfortunately, one immigrant lost his life due to the bouncing bullets in the incident, and 12 irregular immigrants were slightly injured.”

Twelve other passengers aboard the minivan sustained injuries in the incident, four of whom were reported to be in critical condition, Turkish paper, Gazete Duvar reported. The remaining thirty people were arrested and taken to the district military station in the vehicle. The nationalities of those in the vehicle have not been confirmed by authorities.

​Dindar Tosun, an eyewitness, claimed there were families with children among the migrants.

The authorities are on the lookout for the smuggler, who was also the driver of the vehicle, who escaped after the incident. A judicial and administrative investigation into the incident is underway.

The shooting, according to a human rights advocate, Mehmet Karatas, was a "breach of duty and a violation of the right to life," and he called for an impartial investigation.

The influx of unauthorized Afghan migrants crossing the eastern border in Turkey has increased in recent months, drawing the attention of the Turkish government.

The rising anti-refugee and migrant sentiment is driving authorities to beef up anti-refugee smuggling tactics.

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Turkey says it has detained eight members of an Iranian assassination team that planned to target Israeli tourists AFP / Yasin AKGUL