More than half of Turkey-Syria border wall complete: Housing agency
DHA photoMore than half of the construction of a 511-kilometer concrete wall being built on Turkey’s border with Syria has been completed, the head of the state-owned Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) has said.
Ergün Turan, president of TOKİ, said 290 kilometers of the wall was sealed along Turkey’s border provinces of Şanlurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Mardin and Şırnak.
“The construction works of about 221 kilometers are ongoing and we will complete it as soon as possible,” he added.
Turkey shares a 900-kilometer (559 miles) border with Syria, which has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011.
The construction is being coordinated by TOKİ, the Defense Ministry and Finance Ministry.
The Turkish Armed Forces are boosting security on the Turkish side by erecting the concrete walls, and on the Syrian side with coalition air forces, through the Euphrates Shield operation, which began on Aug. 24, 2016. The operation aims to provide security, support U.S.-led coalition forces and eliminate terror presence along Syria’s northern border with Turkey.
Turan said seven tons of mobile blocks, which are two meters in width and three meters in height, have been topped with one-meter high barbed wires.
“We also built some 260 kilometers of roads outside the wall,” he added, vowing that the border will bring security after the completion of the wall.
He said TOKİ built security roads and watchtowers for patrol duties as a part of a protocol signed with the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry.
As part of the precautions being taken to preserve border security, the government is planning to form a professional armed border patrol that will work under the aegis of the Interior Ministry.
Border surveillance is currently undertaken by the Interior Ministry, but 10 other ministries and central administrative bodies are involved at different stages such as customs, passport control and medical control.
Along other parts of the border, protection and surveillance services are provided by the Turkish Land Forces, the Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard.
With its new border plan, Ankara aims to gather and centralize different authorities for border services under the full command of the Interior Ministry. The capacity of the police, gendarmerie and coast guard personnel will also be strengthened by the ministry. Personnel from the counter-terrorism unit of the police forces will also undertake special training.