Ankara to complete Syria border wall within 5 months / Pics

A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria will be finished by the end of February, an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria will be finished by the end of February, an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday.

Ankara has long been under pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the border with ISIS-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 said, declining to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He said winter conditions would be a challenge to the timetable, however.

Turkey last month launched an operation dubbed "Euphrates Shield" in alliance with Syrian rebels to drive ISIS militants away from the border area and stop the YPG's advance.

Turkey regards the YPG as closely tied to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants fighting an insurgency in southeast Turkey and deems both as terrorist organizations.

The United States, meanwhile, sees the YPG as an ally in its operations targeting ISIS -- a source of tensions between Ankara and Washington.

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