Syria–Turkey border

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Map of Syria, with Turkey to the north

The border between the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Turkey (Arabic: الحدود السورية التركية‎, romanizedalhudud alsuwriat alturkia,Turkish: Suriye–Türkiye sınırı) is about 909 kilometres (565 mi) long, and runs from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the tripoint with Iraq in the east.[1] It runs across Upper Mesopotamia for some 400 kilometres (250 mi), crossing the Euphrates and reaching as far as the Tigris. Much of the border follows the Southern Turkish stretch of the Baghdad Railway, roughly along the 37th parallel between the 37th and 42nd eastern meridians. In the west, it almost surrounds the Turkish Hatay Province, partly following the course of the Orontes River and reaching the Mediterranean coast at the foot of Jebel Aqra.

Description[edit]

Karadouran/al-Samara beach near Kessab, Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish borderline, where Mount Dyunag touches the Mediterranean Sea

Since Turkey's 1939 annexation of the Hatay State, the Syrian–Turkish border now touches the Mediterranean coast at Ras al-Bassit, south of Mount Aqra (35°55′44″N 35°55′04″E / 35.9288°N 35.9178°E / 35.9288; 35.9178). Hatay province borders the Syrian Latakia and Idlib governorates. The westernmost (and southernmost) border crossing is at 35°54′18″N 36°00′36″E / 35.905°N 36.010°E / 35.905; 36.010, some 3 km west of Yayladağı. The border reaches its southernmost point at 35°48′29″N 36°09′07″E / 35.808°N 36.152°E / 35.808; 36.152, 2 km west of Bidama, to include the now-abandoned village of Topraktutan (Beysun) in Hatay.[2]

The border now runs north and east, following the Orontes River for a part of its course, where in 2011 construction of a Syria–Turkey Friendship Dam began (but has since been delayed due to the Syrian Civil War),[3] and east to the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing on the İskenderunAleppo road, then further north to the border between Hatay and Gaziantep Province, where it turns sharply east outside of Meidan Ekbis (Afrin District), at 36°49′48″N 36°39′54″E / 36.830°N 36.665°E / 36.830; 36.665.

With the exception of Hatay province, the Turkish side of the border is entirely within the Southeastern Anatolia Region. East of Meidan Ekbis, the border stretches eastward for some 400 km, roughly following the 37th parallel north and passing the 37th to 42nd meridians. From Çobanbey to Nusaybin/Qamishli, the border follows the tracks of the Konya-Baghdad Railway. It crosses the Euphrates River at Jarabulus/Karkamış and passes north of the border town of Kobanî (Ayn al Arab) (built in 1912 as part of the Baghdad Railway construction project). The Raqqa Governorate's Tell Abyad District borders the Turkish Şanlıurfa Province, including the divided border town of Tell Abyad/Akçakale. The Al-Hasakah Governorate, still bordering Şanlıurfa Province, has a border crossing at Ras al-Ayn, connecting to Ceylanpınar. Some 100 km east of Ceylanpınar, the border passes the border town of Nusaybin in the Turkish Mardin Province (ancient Nisibis, the birthplace of Ephraim the Syrian), next to Syrian Qamishli. The Syrian Aleppo Governorate has a 221 kilometres (137 mi) long northern boundary with the Turkish Kilis, Gaziantep, and Şanlıurfa provinces.[citation needed]

On the Turkish side, the European route E90 runs alongside the length of the border, crossing the Euphrates at Birecik and the Tigris at Cizre. For the final 30 km the border follows the course of the Tigris, turning towards the south-east, until it reaches the Iraq-Syria-Turkey tripoint at 37°06′22″N 42°21′18″E / 37.106°N 42.355°E / 37.106; 42.355.

History[edit]

Turkey's borders as determined by the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres.

At the start of the 20th century the entire border region was part of the Ottoman Empire. During the First World War, an Arab Revolt (supported by the British) successfully ousted the Ottomans from Syria-Mesopotamia, however Britain and France had secretly agreed to partition the area between them in 1916 via the Sykes–Picot Agreement.[4]

In 1920 Syria formally became a French mandatory territory, being initially split into a number of states, including the French-controlled Sanjak of Alexandretta (modern Hatay province).[4] By the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres Anatolian Turkey was to be partitioned, with the Syrian-Turkish frontier placed further north than its current position.[5] Turkish nationalists were outraged at the treaty, contributing to the outbreak the Turkish War of Independence; the Turkish success in this conflict rendered Sèvres obsolete.[4] A new border more favourable to Turkey was drawn by the Franco-Turkish Treaty of Ankara in 1921.[4][6] By the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne Turkey's independence was recognised and a far more generous territorial settlement was agreed upon, albeit at the cost of Turkey formally renouncing any claim to Arab lands.[7] Following Lausanne, the Syrian-Turkish frontier was delimited more precisely between Meidan Ekbis and Nusaybin in 1926, and between Nusaybin and the tripoint with Iraq in 1929.[4] A Final Delimitation Protocol covering the entire boundary east of Hatay was then confirmed and deposited with the League of Nations on 3 May 1930.[4]

Turkey's borders as determined by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Note that Hatay province is shown as Syrian territory.

A special case was what is now Turkey's Hatay province, which remained autonomous until 1923, then became part of Syria as the Sanjak of Alexandretta, briefly became independent as the Hatay State in 1938, before being annexed by Turkey as Hatay Province in 1939.[8] The Hatay section of the boundary was delimited in 1938 and then confirmed the following year, being marked on the ground by numerous pillars. Hatay was then formally transferred to Turkey on 23 July 1939.[4]

Syria gained independence in 1944, and the frontier then became one between two sovereign states;[4] when Turkey joined NATO (1952) and the OSCE (1973), its boundary with Syria also then formed an outer border of these organisations. Syria continued to claim Hatay province as part of Greater Syria, often depicting the region as part of Syria on official maps, though in recent decades their claims have been less pronounced.[9][10][11][12]

Since the Syrian Civil War broke out in 2011, tensions across the border have increased, and there have been a number of clashes; there has also been a substantial influx of refugees across the border to Turkey.[13] Turkey began construction of a border barrier in 2014.[14][15]

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, around 310 Syrians civilians, including 90 children and women, have been killed by the Turkish gendarmerie at the Syrian–Turkish border since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.[16] According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 361 civilians have been killed, including 69 children and 34 women.[17] The Human Rights Watch has accused the Turkish Armed Forces of shooting at families fleeing across the border, including an instance where an infant was shot.[18]

Border crossings[edit]

From west to east, as of 1 July 2019.[19]

# Turkey Syria Type Status Control on Syrian side
1 Yayladağı Kessab Road Restricted Syria
2 Kızılçat Samira Closed Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
3 Topraktutan Yunesiyeh Closed Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
4 Aşağıpulluyazı Ein al-Bayda Restricted Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
5 Güveççi Kherbet Eljoz Restricted Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
6 Karbeyaz (Yiğitoğlu) Darkush Closed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
7 Ziyaret Al-Alani Closed Islamists
8 Cilvegözü, near Reyhanlı Bab al-Hawa Road Open Local civil administration
9 Bükülmez Atme Restricted Islamists
10 Hatay Hammamı Al Hammam Restricted Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
11 İslahiye Meidan Ekbis Railway Closed Syrian National Army
12 Öncüpınar al-Salameh Road Open Syrian National Army
13 Çobanbey Al-Rai Railway Restricted Syrian National Army
14 Karkamış Jarabulus Road Open Syrian National Army
15 Mürşitpınar Ayn al-Arab Railway Closed Autonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
16 Akçakale Tall Abyad Road Open Syrian National Army
17 Ceylanpınar Ras al-Ayn Road Closed Syrian National Army
18 Şenyurt Al-Darbasiyah Road Closed Autonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
19 Nusaybin Qamishli Road, railway Closed Syria
20 Cizre Al-Malikiyah Closed Autonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
20 Kumlu Afrin Open Syrian National Army

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CIA World Factbook - Syria, 4 April 2020
  2. ^ The village's population was 583 in 1980 (Türk Dünyası Araştırmaları Vakfı, 1986, p. 142); it was later evacuated due to landslides. There is now a police station and a monument marking the southernmost point of Turkey. Topraktutan forms a small salient into Syrian territory. It corresponds to the Turkish airspace claimed to have been violated prior to the 2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown.
  3. ^ "Construction interrupted for friendship dam along Turkey-Syria border". Today's Zaman. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h International Boundary Study No. 163 Syria-Turkey Boundary (PDF), 7 March 1978, retrieved 4 April 2020
  5. ^ Helmreich, Paul C. (1974). From Paris to Sèvres: The Partition of the Ottoman Empire at the Peace Conference of 1919–1920. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press. p. 320. ISBN 9780814201701. OCLC 694027.
  6. ^ "Ankara, Treaty of" in The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 423.
  7. ^ Treaty of Peace with Turkey signed at Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, 24 July 1923, retrieved 28 November 2012
  8. ^ "Franco-Turkish agreement of Ankara" (PDF) (in French and English). Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  9. ^ parliament.gov.sy – معلومات عن الجمهورية العربية السورية Archived 2007-06-02 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "The Alexandretta Dispute", American Journal of International Law
  11. ^ Lundgren Jörum, Emma: "The Importance of the Unimportant" in Hinnebusch, Raymond & Tür, Özlem: Turkey-Syria Relations: Between Enmity and Amity (Farnham: Ashgate), p 114-122.
  12. ^ Lundgren Jörum, Emma, Beyond Syria's Borders: A history of territorial disputes in the Middle East, (London & New York: I.B. Tauris), p 108
  13. ^ "Syria refugees brave mines, machineguns to reach Turkish sanctuary". Reuters. 6 April 2012. "IOM distributes aid to Syrian refugees – Society". KUNA. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  14. ^ Reuters: "Turkish developer confident Syria wall in place by spring" By Nevzat Devranoglu and Orhan Coskun December 9, 2016
  15. ^ The Daily Telegraph: "Turkey to build 500-mile wall on Syria border after Isil Suruc bombing" by Nabih Bulos 23 Jul 2015
  16. ^ http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=73547 Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
  17. ^ "More casualties raise to about 70, the number of children victims of the Turkish Jandarma's shooting out of 361 civilians". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. April 23, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  18. ^ "Turkey/Syria: Border Guards Shoot, Block Fleeing Syrians". Human Rights Watch. February 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "Turkey / Syria: Border Crossings Status (1 July 2019)". ReliefWeb. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2019.