Outraged locals protest for additional security measures in Kilis
KİLİS – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoOutraged locals in the southern province of Kilis, on the border with Syria, have rallied in front of the Governor’s Office to demand greater security measures, as the conflict in Syria continues to have spillover effects.
One person has been killed while eight others have been wounded as rockets fired from territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) hit the province twice in the past 24 hours, leading to heightened fears among locals.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the governor’s office on April 12 after two rocket projectiles fired from Syria landed in Kilis, marking the second such incident in less than a day.
Riot police were dispatched to the area as locals demanded additional security measures to guard against rockets from across the border.
The first incident took place late on April 11 when three rocket projectiles from ISIL-controlled territories hit the province, wounding 12.
Within less than 24 hours, two other rockets landed in Kilis, with one hitting an empty field and another hitting the first floor of a four-story hostel. Eight people were wounded, with two reported to be in a critical condition.
One of the wounded persons, identified as 42-year-old Mehmet Emin Onarıcı, succumbed to his wounds at the Kilis State Hospital, where the wounded were taken.
A number of buildings and vehicles near the scene were also damaged, and a number of ambulances and fire fighters were deployed as police took security measures.
Kilis Governor Süleyman Tapsız told reporters that the Turkish army was retaliating by shelling ISIL positions in the region, within the rules of engagement.
The southern province has increasingly become a target of ISIL rockets from Syria.
In another incident on April 7, two Katyusha projectiles believed to have been fired from the ISIL-controlled Bab region hit two neighborhoods in central Kilis and wounded three.
Previously, four people were killed and another four were wounded in two separate incidents on Jan. 18 and March 8, when rocket projectiles fired from Bab hit a school and a neighborhood.
In his statements following the March 8 attack, Kilis Mayor Hasan Kara said civilians were being targeted by ISIL and urged citizens to remain in their houses or workplaces and avoid crowded areas.
A deputy head of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in February 2016 filed an application to the Norwegian Nobel Committee to nominate Kilis for the Nobel Peace Prize, praising the province for hosting as many Syrians as its total population.
Kilis currently hosts 129,211 Syrians, while its population stands at 130,655, according to official figures from 2015.