Turkish soldier killed in intervention against human smugglers at Syrian border
HATAY – Doğan News Agency
AA PhotoA Turkish soldier has been killed in a knife attack after security forces intervened against a group of human smugglers trying to infiltrate into Turkish territory from Syria.
The Turkish Armed Forces announced in a statement that the incident took place at 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Görentaş border post in Hatay’s Yayladağı district.
“Elements on duty at the Görentaş border post intervened against a group seeking to enter Turkey illegally, and one of our heroic comrades-in-arms was martyred in the clashes that erupted,” the army’s statement said.
The soldier has been identified as Mustafa Uygun.
The governor of Hatay, Ercan Topaca, also visited the border post to be briefed by army officials. Speaking to reporters, Topaca denied allegations that Turkish forces intervened on Syrian territory.
“There is a gang network here on both sides of the border. But they say ‘soldiers crossed, a battalion crossed [into Syria],’ there is no such thing; we did not intervene beyond the border,” Topaca said, adding that measures were being taken to prevent such groups from illegally crossing back and forth.
The governor also said the group tried to cross by climbing concrete walls that had recently been built by Turkey to prevent infiltration.
The smugglers managed to escape from security officials after the attack, reports said, adding that an operation has been launched to apprehend the assailants.
Checkpoints were established along the road between Yayladağı and Antakya while security measures were increased at entrances to districts.
Scores of police forces, soldiers and ambulances were dispatched to the region, and civilians were warned with announcements from the loudspeakers of mosques to avoid leaving their houses.
Turkey, which has been under intense pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the 70-kilometer strip that stretches from just east of the Turkish town of Kilis to Karkamış, has erected three-meter-high slabs of concrete walls at vulnerable sections of its border with Syria.