A dog walks near a wall on the Syria-Turkey border in the western Syrian countryside of Ras al-Ain, February 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Turkish officials say the construction of a wall along the Syrian border that Ankara plans to use against illegal crossing will be completed in five months.
An official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday that the wall along the length of Turkey's 900-kilometer border with Syria would be finished by the end of February.
“Construction will be completed within five months,” the official said, adding that the timetable might face potential challenges due to winter conditions.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said state housing developer TOKI had been tasked with building the remaining part of the wall. He said a 200-kilometer stretch of the wall had already been completed, without elaborating on the past and future costs of the project. He also said the wall would be similar in specifications to border walls in other countries, such as the one between parts of Mexico and the United States.
Turkey began the construction in 2014 at a time when borders were open to the Syrians escaping war at home. Ankara said the wall was needed to combat smuggling and illegal migration. However, the main justification behind the project seems to be pressure from NATO on member state Turkey to seal off its border with areas that militants of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group control in Syria.
Moreover, Turkey has become increasingly wary of the rise of Kurdish militants along the border.
Local media say the wall, which will be three meters high and two meters wide, is expected to cost 2 billion lira ($672 million). The project also includes a road for military patrols alongside it.