Turkey-Syria border town hit by car bombs
Syria’s civil war spilled over the border into southern Turkey on Saturday when a series of car bombs killed 40 people in the town of Reyhanli.
This was the bloodiest incident on Turkish soil since the onset of Syria’s civil war in 2011. Four explosions near the town hall devastated the centre of Reyhanli in the Turkish province of Hatay. Muammer Guler, the interior minister, told local media that 40 people had been killed and at least 29 wounded.
The government made no accusations about responsibility for the attack, but Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign minister, said: “Those who for whatever reason attempt to bring the external chaos into our country will get a response.”
After the bombings, local people vented their anger by vandalising cars with Syrian number plates and attacking Syrian refugees. Thousands have arrived in the area, raising tension with the Turkish host population. Reyhanli, with a population of about 60,000, is near the Cilvegozu frontier crossing with Syria.
Turkey has openly supported the Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, allowing them to arm, train and recruit using bases inside its territory. Accordingly, Syria’s regime has a motive for striking back by attacking Turkey. In the past, Syrian forces have fired artillery shells and mortar bombs over the border, killing five Turks in the village of Akcakale last October.
In the past, the Turkish army has often retaliated in kind. After the Akcakale incident, when a mother and her three daughters were among the dead, Turkey responded by bombarding targets inside Syria.