Five Syrian nationals were wounded when a large group of Syrians attempted to sneak into Turkey through a mined area late Monday.
A group of some 100 Syrians were heading to Akçakale, a Turkish border town in the province of Şanlıurfa when they stepped on mines on the Turkish side of the border.
The injured were carried to a public hospital in the town. Two Syrians sustained life-threatening injuries.
It is unclear whether the members of the group were smugglers or civilians fleeing the brutal conflict in Turkey's southern neighbor. Smugglers, who have thrived in the course of four-year-old civil war in Syria, are prevalent along Turkey's lengthy border with that country and they often attempt to cross into Turkish territories in large groups.
Displaced Syrians also flock to the border. Although Turkey pursues an open-door policy and occasionally opens its border crossings to Syrian refugees, illegal crossings are also common.
Turkish media outlets, quoting military sources, say 497 people were captured by troops as they attempted to cross into Turkey from Syria yesterday while 47 others were detained as they tried to enter Syria. Turkey is also a preferred route for foreign fighters seeking to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the country has intercepted and deported hundreds of ISIS recruits from Europe and other continents either near the border or in cities like Istanbul. ISIS militants traveling back home after fighting in Syria are also among the people frequently captured on the border.
Mined areas that the Turkish army oversees dot the border. There are more than 975,000 landmines planted in areas near Turkey's borders, and over 6,000 people were either maimed or killed from the 1980s to the 2000s by landmines. Human Rights Watch claimed last year that at least three Syrians were killed and another nine were injured when they stepped on landmines on the border last year.
Borders' Syrian side is also full of landmines planted both by the Syrian regime and ISIS, which battles Syrian Kurdish groups for control of several towns in northern Syria located opposite the Turkish border.