18 soldiers injured after fire was opened on army troops in village bordering Syria
Turkish troops had increased patrols after clashes took place between smugglers and soldiers deployed to border posts. AA photoEighteen soldiers were injured in clashes on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southern province of Hatay after fire was opened on army troops in a border village in the early hours of Aug. 6.
The incident came only hours after a confrontation between the army troops deployed along the frontier and smugglers trying to enter Turkey.
“Our personnel tasked at the border located a group of 2,500-3,000 smugglers in the zone between the border posts at 2 a.m. [Aug. 6],” the Armed Forces said in a written statement.
The soldiers used to tear gas when the group did not disperse following warnings in Turkish and Arabic. A second clash ensued a few hours later around 5:30 a.m. as a group of 300 soldiers were sent to the border village of Kuşaklı, in the Reyhanlı district, to conduct searches.
“The residents burned fuel cans and threw stones to prevent our unit from entering the village. Molotov cocktails were thrown at our armored vehicles with the intention of setting them on fire; around 7 a.m. fire was opened against our troops from some houses in the village,” the army said in the statement
“Following the fire, 18 of our soldiers were wounded in their arms or legs and around their faces and necks,” the statement also said, adding that the soldiers had been transported to the hospital and none of them were in serious condition.
Clashes between soldiers and smugglers in Hatay province have increased recently, prompting the Turkish Armed Forces to return fire in some cases, killing some attackers.
Second Army Cmdr. Galip Mendi visited the province and inspected the border zone on July 13.
Most of the smugglers who clashed with soldiers were trafficking oil, the army had previously said.