Turkey Closes Main Border Crossings into Northwest Syria Amid Unrest and Violence

Turkey Closes Main Border Crossings into Northwest Syria Amid Unrest and Violence

Turkey shuts its main border crossings into northwest Syria following unrest and attacks on Syrian communities within Turkey. President Erdogan addresses the situation and vows to expose the “dirty hands” behind the chaos.

Bollywood Fever: Turkey has closed its main border crossings into northwest Syria after Turkish troops came under fire from Syrians angered by recent violence against their compatriots in Turkey. The decision, affecting crucial trade and travel conduits, follows a wave of attacks targeting the Syrian community across several Turkish provinces.

In Turkey, police detained 474 individuals involved in attacks on Syrian-owned properties and vehicles, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya reported. The unrest, which began late Sunday, was sparked by social media reports of a Syrian man allegedly sexually abusing a female child relative in Kayseri. The incident is under investigation.

Turkey Closes Main Border Crossings into Northwest Syria Amid Unrest and Violence

The violence quickly spread to Hatay, Gaziantep, Konya, Bursa, and an Istanbul district, with reports of injuries among Syrians, according to Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency. In response, hundreds of Syrians in rebel-held northwest Syria, an area under Turkish influence, took to the streets. Turkey maintains thousands of troops in this region to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from regaining control.

Late Monday, Turkey closed the Bab al Hawa border crossing, a key trade and passenger route for over 3 million inhabitants, along with the Bab al Salam and other smaller crossings, a border official told Reuters. The Syrian border city of Afrin witnessed the most intense clashes, with at least four people killed in exchanges of fire between armed protesters and Turkish troops. Other towns saw skirmishes and stone-throwing at Turkish convoys, with some Turkish flags torn down from offices.

Turkish officials described the unrest in Syria as “provocations,” with the Foreign Ministry stating: “It is wrong to use the sad events that took place in Kayseri … as the basis for some provocations beyond our borders.” President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the unrest on groups linked to terrorist organizations, vowing to expose the “dirty hands” behind the incidents.

“We know who is playing in these games staged with the remnants of the terrorist organization. Neither us, nor our Syrian brothers, will fall into this sly trap…we will not give in to racist vandalism,” Erdogan declared after a cabinet meeting.

Erdogan noted that more than 670,000 people have returned to areas in northern Syria where Turkey has created safe zones over the past decade. He emphasized that the refugee issue would be resolved humanely and morally, considering Turkey’s economic realities, which currently host over 3 million Syrian refugees.

Last Friday, Erdogan mentioned the possibility of meeting with Assad to help restore bilateral relations. Turkey severed ties with Syria following the 2011 civil war and has supported rebels seeking to oust Assad.

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