Turkey to build a wall on its Syrian border by February

Turkey to build a wall on its Syrian border by FebruaryA concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-km border with Syria will be finished by the end of February, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project.

Ankara has long been under pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the border with Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and is also concerned by the presence of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which controls most of its Syrian border.

Construction on a border wall to combat smuggling and illegal migration started as early as 2014 even as Turkey maintained an open-border policy that has seen nearly 3 million Syrians seek refuge in the country.

"Construction will be completed within five months," the official told Reuters. He said winter conditions would be a challenge to the timetable, however.

A 200-km stretch of the wall has already been completed and state housing developer TOKI will build the rest, the official said. He likened the project to border walls in other countries, such as the one between parts of Mexico and the United States.

The Hurriyet newspaper said that including a road for military patrols planned alongside it, the wall was expected to cost 2 billion lira ($672 million).

Made up of seven-tonne portable blocks topped with razor wire, the wall will be three meters high and two meters wide. The official said private companies would be hired once construction tenders were completed.
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