At least 40 dead and 100 injured in Turkey car bomb attacks near Syrian border

  • Double explosion hits town of Reyhanli  by 500-mile long border
  • Two cars with Syrian number plates found at scene
  • Locals seen ‘seeking revenge on Syrians’
  • But Turkish Prime Minister says Kurdish militants also under suspicion
  • Area has seen heavy fighting, with car bomb going off in February
At least 40 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a double car bomb attack in a Turkish town near the border with Syria.

The explosions hit the town of Reyhanli, just across the border from Syria’s Idlib province, and suspicion immediately fell on the war-torn country.

The cars containing the bombs are reportedly Syrian and witnesses said locals are attacking them and seeking out Syrian nationals for revenge.

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People gather at the site of an explosion in the town of Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border after a double blastPeople gather at the site of an explosion in the town of Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border after a double blast

 

People carry a woman injured in the double blast. Suspicion immediately fell on Turkey's neighbours, SyriaPeople carry a woman injured in the double blast. Suspicion immediately fell on Turkey’s neighbours, Syria

 

There has been an escalation in tension on the border for some monthsThere has been an escalation in tension on the border for some months

One of the car bombs exploded outside the town hall while the other went off outside the post office, Turkey interior minister Muammer Guler said.

Health minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said at least 15 ambulances were helping the injured.

Photojournalist Bradley Secker told Sky News there were two cars with Syrian registrations at the scene being attacked by locals.

 VIDEO  Forty dead and 100 injured in blasts on Syria/Turkey border

Forty dead and 100 injured in Turkey blasts near Syrian border

The blasts took place right on the Syrian border in the town of ReyhanliThe blasts took place right on the Syrian border in the town of Reyhanli

He said: ‘The entire high street is substantially damaged. There are lots of broken windows.

‘Two cars with Syrian number plates are at the scene, one is upside down and the other is being attacked.’

He also said some locals were seeking out Syrians for revenge attacks.

Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested the attacks may have something to do with the Kurdish peace process in the country, with Kurdish rebels only this week agreeing to withdraw from Turkey.

He said: ‘We have started a resolution process in our country, and there are those who don’t accept this new era or do not consider the air of freedom to be positive who might have been involved in such [attacks]’

Emphasising the province, Hatay, was a particularly sensitive area, he added: ‘Hatay is a province where there are some sensibilities. Some might have intended to incite these sensitivities. Around 20,000 to 25,000 Syrians live in camps [across Hatay]. It might be a factor of not accepting this.’

Turkey, which shares a more than 500-mile border with Syria, has been a crucial supporter of the Syrian rebel cause and Ankara has allowed its territory to be used as a logistics base and staging centre for Syrian insurgents.

The frontier area has seen heavy fighting. In February, a car bomb exploded at a border crossing with Turkey in Idlib, killing 14. Turkey’s interior minister has blamed Syria’s intelligence agencies and its army for involvement.

Debris is scattered everywhere as firefighters get to work on making the scene safeDebris is scattered everywhere as firefighters get to work on making the scene safe

People gather at the site of the double explosion, which has killed at least 30 and injured scores morePeople gather at the site of the double explosion, which has killed at least 30 and injured scores more

Four Syrians and a Turk are in custody in connection with the Feb. 11 attack at the Bab al-Hawa frontier post. No one has claimed responsibility, but a Syrian opposition faction accused the Syrian government of the bombing, saying it narrowly missed 13 leaders of the group.

In that bombing, most of the victims were Syrians who had been waiting in an area straddling the frontier for processing to enter Turkey.

Tensions flared between the Syrian regime and Turkey after shells fired from Syria landed on the Turkish side, prompting Germany, the Netherlands and the United States to send two batteries of Patriot air defence missiles each to protect their Nato ally.

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Posted on May 11, 2013, in News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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