ANKARA – Doğan News Agency
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has shared information about its border security efforts as well as recent incidents and security measures taken to combat the problems along the 911-kilometer-long border shared by Turkey and Syria.
According to the information, there were four border regiments, 12 border battalions, 37 border divisions and 139 border stations on the borderline, which make up about 30 percent of the Turkish Ground Forces’ personnel on the border, including reinforcements. Night vision system military vehicles have also been deployed to the borderline.
The Asi and Dicle (Tigris) rivers constitute 90 kilometers of the border, along with 657 kilometers of mine fields, 380 kilometers of railways and 54 kilometers of forested area. The TSK has built a 23-kilometer-long modular concrete wall, a 108 kilometer-long trellis fence, 386 kilometers of trenches, an 80 kilometer-long embankment, added 423 kilometers of illumination and reformed a 1450-kilometer-long border patrol route since 2012.
Around 300 million Turkish Liras have been spent on reinforcing the physical border security system over the last three years, the information said.
The construction of a 168-kilometer-long modular concrete wall was also ongoing as a part of the Border Physical Security System Project in coordination with the Turkish Defense Ministry.
A total of 60,067 border incidents have occurred over the last five years, the information said. According to the data from the same period, the number of people seized at the border has doubled, reaching between 400 and 500 people a day. A total of 909 people from 54 different origins have been seized since the beginning of 2015 for being potential foreign fighters.
Over 6,000 weapons, 5.5 million liters of fuel oil, 4 tons of cannabis, 1.6 million opiate drugs and 22 million packages of cigarettes have also been seized over the last five years. Accordingly, the number of smuggled weapons has dramatically dropped due to security measures. In addition, 387 kilometers of fuel safety pipes have been destroyed since 2014, while the amount of smuggled fuel oil dropped to only 29,369 liters in the first eleven months of 2015. However, the number of seized drugs doubled, and the number of cigarettes increased 1.5 times.
Meanwhile, eight soldiers have been killed during clashes at illegal border crossings, while 103 have been injured. A total of 30 civilians, including eight Turks and 22 Syrians, have been killed while 116 have been injured, including 57 Turkish and 59 Syrian citizens.
The military information concluded that efforts to enhance border security had been intensified and security measures would continue to be implemented without interruption.