The security wall along Turkey's Syrian border is expected to be completed by the end of this month as Ankara seeks to increase border security measures.
A 731-kilometer (454-mile) section of the planned wall has been completed, according to sources. The final length of the wall will extend 828 kilometers, excluding ponds and riverbeds located near the border.
As the ongoing Syrian civil war poses new security threats to its northern neighbor, Ankara decided to build a wall along the border in an effort to prevent illegal crossings, smuggling and terrorist movement. Sharing a 911-kilometer border with the war-torn country, Turkish authorities have repeatedly stressed the significance of the border's security.
Underlining the efforts to mitigate security threats, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on Sept. 17 that Turkey has been strengthening its capabilities to address threats such as Daesh.
"Currently, Turkey has been building a wall on its border with Syria. The border will also be checked with armored vehicles, zeppelins and other technological equipment," Şimşek said. He asserted that with these measures no terrorists will be able to pass over the border.
Commenting on Turkey's fight against terrorism, Şimşek said: "I think we are doing well in confronting terrorism, both in national and international terms, as we receive good news. … With our allies we are razing the substructures of Daesh in Turkey and around the world. If you look back at 2015, Daesh has been drastically diminishing and losing land."
The wall is being built behind minefields and deep ditches, and is reinforced with barbed wire and steel fences. On watchtowers along the border wall, soldiers monitor the area while armored military vehicles patrol around-the-clock.
Military sources say the wall has already significantly curbed smuggling and "irregular crossings." In an area covering Gaziantep and Kilis, two cities used as major gateways into Turkey by smugglers from Syria, only 76 cases of smuggling were detected in 2016, opposed to the 2,044 in 2015.
Stressing that Ankara has been actively facing terrorism head-on, Şimşek said Turkish forces have cleared Daesh out of a 200,000-kilometer area. He also said Turkey conducts reconstruction in these areas, building schools and hospitals.
He reiterated that they have been taking necessary steps in order to contain terrorism and ensure security as Turkey has been targeted by Daesh and subjected to numerous terrorist attacks.
When the wall is complete, it is expected that illegal crossings will reduce and infiltration of terrorists will end completely.
The mobile blocks being used to make the wall measure 3 meters tall by 2 meters wide.