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Monday, April 4, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Turkey bolsters security on Syria, Iraq borders

ANKARA — Turkish sources said the military has sent reinforcements along key points of the nation's 600-kilometer border with Syria.


They said the reinforcements were sent after fighters and operatives of the Kurdish Workers Party were believed to have infiltrated Turkey from Syria.

Turkey has also reinforced troops along the border with Iraq, which harbors an estimated 3,000 PKK fighters in the Kandil mountains, Middle East Newsline reported. The sources said troops, helicopters and armored vehicles have arrived in the border provinces of Hakari and Sirnak.

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"The recent problems in Syria have led to a sharp decline in border security," a Turkish source said.

On April 1, Turkish troops killed at least seven suspected operatives of the PKK along the border with Syria. The sources said the infiltrators crossed the border in the Hatay province and were detected and killed near Hassa.

The sources said this marked the biggest battle between Turkey and the PKK since August 2010. In February, the PKK ended what they termed was a six-month ceasefire.

Syria and Turkey have been cooperating in tracking and blocking the movements of the PKK. The sources said the two countries have established an intelligence exchange as well as hold regular border exercises that test interoperability and communications.

Last year, the Syrian-Turkish cooperation against the PKK was said to have peaked. Syria was reported to have arrested 400 members of the PKK in towns near the Turkish border.

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