Turkey Fires on Hundreds Fleeing Syria on Horseback

Forces try to combat smugglers; 1,500-2,000 fired on in another incident

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 30, 2013 10:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – Turkey's border with Syria isn't the most welcoming place right now. The military opened fire on between 300 and 350 people headed for the border on horseback today, turning them back, Reuters reports. In a separate, even larger confrontation, troops fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse a group of 1,500 to 2,000 people. Turkey said the people, who threw rocks at military vehicles as they approached, were believed to be smugglers.

Turkey is increasingly worried about fuel and weapons smuggling from Syria. Just yesterday the military stopped another 1,000-strong group of would-be border-crossers and seized roughly 1,600 gallons of diesel from them. Turkey has also reduced the number of refugees it will allow in, the Guardian reports. Half a million have already crossed, but tens of thousands more are stuck on the Syrian side. Human Rights Watch recently chided the country for that, saying blocking people from escaping a war zone is a breach of international law.

A youth and goats pass by Turkish military stationed on the Turkish side of the border near Syrian rebel-controlled town of Tel Abyad, in this, Oct. 5, 2012 file photo.
A youth and goats pass by Turkish military stationed on the Turkish side of the border near Syrian rebel-controlled town of Tel Abyad, in this, Oct. 5, 2012 file photo.   (AP Photo)
Turkish military take up positions on the Turkish side of the border near Syrian rebel-controlled town of Tel Abyad, in Akcakale, Turkey, in this Oct. 5, 2012 file photo.
Turkish military take up positions on the Turkish side of the border near Syrian rebel-controlled town of Tel Abyad, in Akcakale, Turkey, in this Oct. 5, 2012 file photo.   (AP Photo)
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