Third Turkish soldier dies after deadly clashes with militants on Syrian border
Last year, around 2,000 people, including 500 foreigners, were caught while trying to cross the border illegally, according to army officials. AA PhotoA soldier who was injured during the clashes in Ceylanpınar in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa against militants has died, bringing the number of soldiers who died during the fighting to three.
Six members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were also killed in the clashes, the Turkish Armed Forces said July 22.
Fighting broke out between the Turkish army and members of the PYD and PKK while the latter were allegedly attempting to smuggle 10-15 people across the Turkish-Syrian border, according to the military.
But the People’s Defense Forces (YPG), a Kurdish paramilitary force that protects the Kurdish areas of northern Syria known as Rojava, denied that any fighters had been involved in the clashes, saying the area in question was only used by smugglers.
Although the military unit stationed in Ceylanpınar delivered a warning message, members of the group began firing at the military, seriously injuring Corporal Yiğit Şağan in the process and killing Privates Adem Dövüşgen and Berat Sağırkaya. The pair died after being rushed to Ceylanpınar State Hospital, the military statement read. Şağan also succumbed to his wounds late July 22.
There have hardly been any deadly clashes since the PKK withdrawal from Turkish soil that began in May, 2013, despite the fact that the organization did not remove all its forces from Turkey. The latest deadly incident was the killing of Musa Sumay, a specialist sergeant, in a mine blast in the southeastern province of Şırnak.
As the civil war in Syria spreads, smuggling is becoming an ever more widespread activity on its northern borders, with a corresponding growth in violence.
Clashes erupted in the southern Turkish province of Hatay near the border with Syria on May 18 when smugglers attacked a border military post, opening fire with a heavy machine gun and Kalashnikovs from the Syrian side.
Additionally, large amounts of fuel smuggled from Syria will slow the Turkish fuel market’s growth by 1.5 to 3 points, BP Turkey Manager Martin Thomsen said earlier this month, warning against the threat of increasing smuggling.
The Turkish Army has effectively worked against smuggling on the border with Syria in many ways, constructing concrete walls and ditches along the border to prevent crossings and deploying patrols to monitor the area around the clock.
Last year, around 2,000 people, including 500 foreigners, were caught while trying to cross the border illegally, Anadolu Agency quoted a general from the Turkish Army serving on the border as saying.