Sevil Erkuş - Hürriyet / July 24 () - Turkey plans to take yet another turn by flying surveillance balloons and building a two-fenced border system with a new moat as part of its efforts to beef up its border security with Syria, after accusations from the international community of not doing its best to stem the flow of foreign fighters from Turkey to its neighbor.
“What is important in the face of Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL) is to block the terrorists’ transit points and to have physical obstacles to this. A physical security system will be established at the border,” Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters during a break from a cabinet meeting attended by the commander of Turkey’s ground forces on late July 22.
Arınç said they discussed implementing an “integrated system” to secure “critical parts of the border” with war-torn Syria to counter the threat of ISIL, adding those measures would not include building walls between the people of two countries.
Two-section fence system in risky areas
According to the new plan to beef up border security, Turkey plans to fly surveillance balloons over the border area, officials told the Hürriyet Daily News. Compared to drones, surveillance balloons bring about several advantages for border surveillance. They are able to stay stationary in the air and at higher altitudes, thereby covering a greater area. Turkey is expected to buy them from the U.S.
The government will build a two-fenced border system including roads passing through two-section wire-mesh fences with observation towers, officials said. The amplified wire-mesh fence system will be located in risky regions of the border area which have been subject to high illegal passage.
The government has already renewed 145 km of wire fence and has set up 90 km of new fences on the border, according to information gathered from Turkish officials.
A total of 450 km of other parts of Turkey’s border with Syria, on the other hand, will be protected by a new moat. The cost of the new border security measures, including drones, thermal cameras and motion sensors, will be around 4.2 billion Turkish Liras.
With a renewed reinforcement of border security personnel, 50 percent of soldiers assigned to protect the county’s borders have been carrying on work on the Syrian border.
Turkey also assigned 90 percent of its drones, along with 50 percent of its armored cars, to the border area with Syria.