Turkish army intercepts smugglers at Syria border

Turkish army intercepts smugglers at Syria border

The General Staff announced on Oct. 24 that it had prevented four smugglers riding motorcycles from crossing the Turkey-Syria border, noting that firing became necessary for the interception after the group first opened fire at members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The incident took place in the early evening of Oct. 23, according to an announcement posted on the official website of the TSK.

After detecting those four persons who had approached the border, border patrol units of the TSK warned them both in Arabic and Turkish. The group, however, responded by firing Kalashnikov guns, upon which the Turkish soldiers opened fire against them, in line with the engagement rules concerning Turkey’s border with Syria. The group eventually escaped towards the Syrian side, the General Staff said.

In addition to dealing with a huge influx of refugees since the start of the civil war in the neighboring country, particularly since the last summer, Turkey has also been dealing with intensified smuggling attempts at the border. These attempts have sometimes been remarkably launched by crowded groups of persons.

In one of these incidents in august, 18 Turkish soldiers were injured when a group of several thousand alleged smugglers clashed with the army as they tried to cross into Turkey from Syria.

The group of 2,500-3,000 people threw stones at military patrol vehicles on the border at the town of Oğulpınar in Hatay province and refused to disperse after warnings were issued in Turkish and Arabic, the Turkish military said at the time.

Earlier this month, the Turkish military started to build a wall alongside the Nusaybin district to prevent illegal crossings, a move condemned by Kurdish people of both Turkey and Syria as well as human rights groups.