Turkey Builds Concrete Walls Against Syria
KABUL: (Middle East Press) Turkey government has begun to build a new concrete wall along a part of its southeastern border with Syria following a series of attacks, state media said Friday.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is building the three metre (10 feet) high wall in the Reyhanli district of Hatay province just across from the Syrian town of Atmeh, the official Anatolia news agency said.
The military is also digging ditches just behind the wall, which will stretch eight kilometres (five miles), Anatolia said.
Turkey has kept an open-border policy throughout Syria’s three-year civil war and has vowed to maintain it, providing a lifeline to rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad by allowing supplies in and refugees out.
But the policy has had its costs. Smuggling has thrived, and a growing number of Syrians forced by the war to eke out a living where they can, swell the ranks of those trying to cross back and forth outside the official border posts.
That has compounded the challenge of securing the 900-km (560-mile) border for Turkey’s authorities, already accused of doing too little to stop foreign jihadists from entering Syria and posing an even bigger risk to the wider region.
A bombing killed 33 people in a mainly Kurdish town in southern Turkey on July 20, ending a truce between Ankara and the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is active in southeastern Turkey.
The toll rose overnight when one of the wounded succumbed to his wounds in hospital.
Turkey said the attack was carried out by the IS group, and launched a two-pronged offensive to bomb its militants in Syria as well as PKK rebels in northern Iraq and southeast Turkey.
Hatay is home to thousands of the roughly 1.8 million Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey to escape the violence at home.