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Turkish troops killed 7 adults and 4 children as they tried to flee Syria on Saturday

Turkey, a major sponsor of groups fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has closed its borders to Syrian refugees.
File photo: Turkish soldiers stand guard as a Syrian refugee boy waits behind the border fences to cross into Turkey on the Turkish-Syrian border, June 5, 2015. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Warning: This story contains graphic images of injured and dead people.

Turkish border guards shot dead at least 11 Syrians, mostly from one family, as they tried to cross into Turkey from northwestern Syria, activists and a monitoring group said on Sunday.

At least two women and four children were among those killed in the shootings overnight as the refugees sought to cross into Turkey from the border village of Khirbet al Jouz, the Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said in a report backed up by several activists in the area.

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The monitor, which tracks violence across Syria, said it had documented the deaths of nearly 60 civilians while trying to flee from Syria since the start of the year in shooting incidents by Turkish border guards.

Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.

Photographs circulated on social media that allegedly showed the victims.

PHOTOS 18+: 11 Syrians, 6 of them children, killed by Turkish soldiers trying to cross into — Conflict News (@Conflicts)June 19, 2016

Turkey, a major sponsor of groups fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has now closed its borders to Syrian refugees, but it is also hosting some 2.7 million registered Syrian refugees, about 280,000 of whom live in camps.

Rockets launched from Syrian territory controlled by Islamic State militants have regularly struck Turkish border towns and have killed at least 20 people in recent months.

Humanitarian bodies have urged Turkey to reopen its borders to admit Syrians fleeing the conflict.