Turkey will finish construction of a concrete wall along most of its Syrian border by the middle of next year, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said during his visit to the site on Wednesday.
Turkey shares a 900-kilometre (559 miles) border with Syria, which has been embroiled in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Turkish Armed Forces units began construction of the wall in 2014 with the aim to block illegal crossings into the country and to minimise threats emanating from Syrian territories controlled by Daesh and YPG.
Speaking during a visit to the border units in the southern province of Hatay, Isik said almost 270 km (167 miles) of the wall have been completed so far. He said the construction of 200 km (124 miles) of the remaining 520 km (323 miles) had started.
"85 kilometres (52 miles) of the border is [part of Euphrates and Tigris] rivers for which we will take different measures," Isik said.
The military also launched a cross-border operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 in alliance with Free Syrian Army (FSA) to drive Daesh away from the border area. The operation was expanded to stop the territorial gains of YPG – a Kurdish militia which Turkey considers an extension of PKK, a group recognised as a terrorist organisation by the US, EU and Turkey.
The wall is being erected on the boundary along Turkey's Sanliurfa province and Karkamis district of Gaziantep province.