The construction of an 828-kilometer (515-mile) wall along the Turkish-Syrian border is drawing to a close, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said Sunday.
More than three quarters of the border wall has been completed, and the construction is expected to finish by the end of next month, Işık said during a visit to southeastern Turkish city of Mardin.
"So far, 690 kilometers [of the border wall] have been completed. It largely prevented illegal crossings and especially smuggling. We are finishing the wall, but we will not be content with just that. We will also implement an integrated border security system," Işık said
He added that the ministry was exploring various technological possibilities to ensure security at the borders, including digital and electronic systems.
"Today we are here with the Commander of the Land Forces and the Commander of the Second Army [Salih Zeki Çolak] to evaluate progress of their activities and to visit our soldiers at their assigned positions in person," the defense minister said.
The Turkish Armed Forces are boosting security on the Turkish side by erecting concrete walls, and on the Syrian side with coalition air forces, through Operation Euphrates Shield, which began on August 24 last year. The operation aims to provide security, to support U.S.-led coalition forces and to eliminate the terrorist presence along Syria's northern border with Turkey.