911-km security wall along Syrian border to be completed in spring

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

The security wall Turkey is building along its 911-kilometer border with Syria is expected to be completed in spring and is predicted to play a significant role in averting threats to Turkey when finished.

The Mass Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) has completed a 781-kilometer section of the wall, and the remaining 131 kilometers are expected to be finished in the early months of 2018. After it is completed, the border wall will be the third-longest wall in the world.

In an effort to mitigate threats stemming from the border of war-torn Syria, Turkey has been paying more attention to strengthening security. Following the civil war in Syria, the PKK's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) gained control of territory, posing a security threat to Turkey. In 2015, Turkey increased the number of observatory towers along the border in order to prevent illegal crossings and terrorists infiltration. When the security measures were failing to address those needs, Ankara decided to build a wall for more effective border security.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the U.K, and the EU. While Turkey also considers the PYD and its armed Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) to be terrorist groups, the U.S. does not and sees them as the most effective partners against Daesh.

The wall is being built behind minefields and deep ditches, and is reinforced with razor wire and steel fences. Soldiers monitor the area from watchtowers along the border wall while armored military vehicles patrol around the clock.

Additionally, 472 kilometers of the border have been lighted to prevent smuggling and terrorist infiltration at night. It is reported that the border is watched by Turkish security personnel 24 hours using drones. Officials have stressed that the building of the wall has substantially prevented illegal crossings.

Turkey is also building observation towers along the Syrian border for threat detection. The towers are reportedly spaced 10 kilometers apart from each other. Each will have a team of 10 soldiers. The towers will be designed to provide high security for the soldiers.

The project is considered essential to prevent illegal crossings and terrorist infiltration. Twenty-one towers will be built along the border in the provinces of Gaziantep and Kilis. Eighteen of the towers will be located on the Kilis-Gaziantep line and three will be on the Gaziantep-Karkamış line.

Additionally, Ankara plans to build paths for the safe passage of soldiers along the wall. Through these secure passageways, soldiers stationed on the wall will be able to reach safe zones and respond to threats more effectively.

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