A view from a Turkish army outpost near the town of Kilis, southeastern Turkey, of the wall the country had been constructing to boost security along its border with conflict-stricken Syria, Thursday, March 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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Turkey is steadily sealing its frontier with Syria, long infiltrated in both directions by fighters and smugglers, with fences, minefields, ditches and a wall that will snake through the most mountainous regions.Fortification of the 911 kilometers border, along with a Turkish army incursion into northern Syria launched in August last year, is helping to tighten the noose on Daesh (ISIS) fighters as well as curbing Kurdish rebel groups.Rebels from a range of militias in the Syrian war, including foreign fighters joining Daesh, once slipped easily over the border. As a result, Kilinc said, the number of smuggling attempts, which peaked in 2014 at 3,474 incidents, dropped to just 77 last year.However, 424 non-Syrian citizens were captured in 2015, with the majority thought to be Daesh fighters.The Turkish campaign took the Syrian town of Jarablus on the Euphrates river, cleared Daesh fighters from a roughly 100 kilometers stretch of the border, and then moved south to Al-Bab, a strategic town now all but secured.Kilinc said the construction of 94 kilometers of wall had been completed while the remaining 79 kilometers on his stretch was expected to be finished within three months.
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