As the world parties to celebrate the arrival of 2022, the first tragic news of the year comes from the Turkish-Iranian border.
An Afghan refugee mother and her two children trying to cross to Turkey from Iran were caught in a snowstorm. On 1 January locals found the children close to a village in Iranian Kurdistan. The mother was later found frozen to death.
It is reported that the two children managed to reach the village where they were saved from freezing by villagers, who gave them food and drinks, went back with them to where they had left their mother, and brought back her frozen body.
It was observed that the mother only had plastic bags on her that feet instead of shoes. She had taken off her socks and put them on her children’s hands to protect them from the cold.
The two children nevertheless had severe frostbite in their hands and feet when the villagers found them. The Mayor of Van (Wan) in Turkey published a statement on his official account confirming the incident and stating that the children and their mother had been found on the Iranian side of the border.
Within the last month at least four people have died on the Turkish-Iranian border, either by freezing to death or by falling into ditches dug by the Turkish authorities. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Turkey started digging ditches on its eastern border with Iran, both in order to prevent refugees from crossing over and also as part of the ongoing military operations against Kurdish fighters.
Large numbers of bodies of refugees who freeze to death trying to reach Turkey are found at the Iranian border every year when spring comes and the snow begins to melt.