Turkish soldiers guarding the Iranian border rescued from the cold 26 Afghan migrants illegally passing through the border of Turkey’s southeastern province of Van on May 13, although 7 less lucky migrants died in the attempt.
Thirty-three migrants were found by Turkish soldiers on early Wednesday, although seven of them - six children and a woman - had already frozen to death.
The migrants, who had passed through Iran, welcomed the soldiers instead of trying to escape - happy to be rescued rather than freeze to death under a heavy hail storm in the mountainous area.
“I saw a woman walking without shoes freeze to death. We became depressed and lost hope. If the Turkish soldiers didn’t find us, we all would be dead. We are indebted to the Turkish soldiers and Turkish border units,” said Ramin Ahashimi, one of the Afghan immigrants.
In the minus 12 degree conditions of the area the soldiers gave their coats and clothing to the migrants, before hosting the group and transferring them to hospitals in the center of Van for a health check.
The leader of the soldiers, lieutenant Burak Serdar said they discovered people had illegally passed through the border during their observing interval, and moved to the area.
“When we arrived the place, five children were just about frozen. The soldiers took off their jackets without any order to put on shivering kids and women. Some of the soldiers shed tears over this tragedy,” said Serdar.