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Turkish soldiers killed in Syria border clash

The two soldiers died after a clash with suspected smugglers trying to cross from Syria into Turkey

Published: Updated:

Two Turkish soldiers were killed in a clash with suspected smugglers near the Syria border, a local official said on Tuesday, according to Reuters news agency.

A military patrol confronted a group of smugglers trying to cross from Syria into the southeastern Turkish frontier district of Ceylanpinar, sparking a gun battle, Sanliurfa province governor Izzettin Kucuk said.

“Two soldiers were killed and another was wounded, we know the other group suffered many casualties,” he told journalists.

Security in the area was heightened, with armoured vehicles deployed, Kucuk said.

The incident happened as Turkey faces growing international pressure to police a major access route for European foreign fighters.

Turkey’s struggle to control illicit movements across its porous 900 km (560 miles) frontier with Syria is getting harder as its neighbor descends deeper into civil war.

Turkey is sheltering an estimated one million Syrian refugees, according to officials, many of them housed in camps along the border.