Deadly clashes as Turkey builds concrete wall with Syria

Deadly clashes as Turkey builds concrete wall with Syria
Twenty four were killed in separate incidents in the restive south-east of Turkey on Friday and Saturday, including ten Turkish soldiers, as Ankara continues building a 'security wall' with Syria.
3 min read
03 September, 2016
Turkey has launched a major operation in Syria aimed at Daesh and Kurds [Anadolu]
Twenty four were killed in separate incidents in the restive south-east of Turkey on Friday and Saturday, including ten Turkish soldiers, a village guardman and thirteen Kurdish insurgents affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

The news comes as Turkey continues works to build a concrete wall with parts of its 900-km frontier with war-ravaged Syria, to boost security according to local officials.

According to state-tun news agency Anadolu, eight Turkish soldiers were killed during clashes with Kurdish separatists in the eastern province of Van Friday.

Eight soldiers were also injured in the same operation against the "separatist terror organisation", the name Turkey gives to the PKK, Anadolu reported.

Late on Friday, two soldiers and a village guard were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in Mardin in the restive southeast blamed on the PKK, the agency reported.

The guard killed was part of a group of local residents who cooperate with Turkish security forces against the PKK, listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies. Three security guards were also wounded.

Read also: Kurdish disunity on the frontlines in Iraq and Syria (Part I & Part II)

Thirteen PKK fighters were killed by Turkish jets around Tendurek mountains in Van province, AFP reported, while Anadolu reported that the operation supported by the air force continued.

Since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in July, Anadolu reported over 600 Turkish security force members have been killed by the PKK in renewed fighting.

The government has responded with military operations against the group, killing more than 7,000 militants in Turkey and northern Iraq, the agency said. It is not possible to independently verify the toll.

Activists claim innocent civilians have also been killed in the offensives.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK first took up arms in 1984.

The Turkish army is erecting the modular walls along the Turkish-Syrian borderline between Suruc, Sanliurfa and Karkamis, Gaziantep

Concrete wall with Syria

Meanwhile, the Turkish army is continuing work on a concrete wall along the frontier with Syria to "maintain the security of its borders", Anadolu said.

Abdullah Ciftci, the district governor of Suruc in the southeastern Sanliurfa province, told Anadolu the army will erect a 4-km (2.4 miles) leg of the concrete wall west of the Mursitpinar border crossing in Suruc and a one-km (0.621 miles) section east of Mursitpinar.

"Our border will be more secure with this 3.60-meter-high wall with barbed wire," Ciftci said.

He said the wall will help to provide more modern border security with its wires and watchtowers.

"The security of Turkey’s borders became very important due to the presence of the PYD/PKK and Daesh near its border," Ciftci said, referring to a Syrian Kurdish militia and using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

On the Syrian side, Turkey has launched Operation Euphrates Shield in collaboration with Syrian rebel groups and the international anti-IS coalition, targeting both IS and Kurdish forces Ankara wants to contain from expanding.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, after the regime of Bashar al-Assad launched a brutal crackdown triggering an armed rebellion.

The war has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 and displaced millions.

Agencies contributed to this report