Syria–Turkey border

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The Syrian town of Kessab, with the peak of Mount Aqra (Turkey) seen in the background ljbl l'qr` khlf ksb.JPG
The Syrian town of Kessab, with the peak of Mount Aqra (Turkey) seen in the background

The border between the Syrian Arab Republic and the Republic of Turkey is about 822 kilometres (511 mi) long. [1] It runs across Upper Mesopotamia for some 400 km, crossing the Euphrates reaching as far as the Tigris, following the Southern Turkish stretch of the Baghdad Railway roughly along the 37th parallel between the 37th and 42nd eastern meridians. In the west, it surrounds the Turkish Hatay Province, following the course of the Orontes River and reaching the Mediterranean coast at the foot of Jebel Aqra.

Upper Mesopotamia Northern part of the region between Tigris and Euphrates rivers, now part of Iraq, Syria and Turkey

Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain of northwestern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey, in the northern Middle East. After the early Muslim conquests of the mid-7th century, the region has been known by the traditional Arabic name of al-Jazira and the Syriac (Aramaic) variant Gāzartā or Gozarto (ܓܙܪܬܐ). The Euphrates and Tigris rivers transform Mesopotamia into almost an island, as they are joined together at the Shatt al-Arab in the Basra Governorate of Iraq, and their sources in eastern Turkey are in close proximity.

Euphrates River in Asia

The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia. Originating in eastern Turkey, the Euphrates flows through Syria and Iraq to join the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab, which empties into the Persian Gulf.

Tigris river which flows from Turkey through Iraq and Syria

The Tigris is the eastern of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq and empties into the Persian Gulf.



The Turkish borders as determined in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne Turkey Peace treaty.gif
The Turkish borders as determined in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne

The current SyroTurkish border was established in the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, based on the Sykes–Picot Agreement between United Kingdom and France in 1916. It was the northern border of the State of Aleppo, the Mandatory Syrian Republic and Syrian Republic, followed by the short-lived United Arab Republic, and since 1961 has been the border between the modern states of Syria and Turkey.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Sykes–Picot Agreement Secret 1916 agreement between the United Kingdom and France

The Sykes–Picot Agreement was a 1916 secret treaty between the United Kingdom and France, with assent from the Russian Empire and Italy, to define their mutually agreed spheres of influence and control in an eventual partition of the Ottoman Empire. The agreement was based on the premise that the Triple Entente would succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I and formed part of a series of secret agreements contemplating its partition. The primary negotiations leading to the agreement occurred between 23 November 1915 and 3 January 1916, on which date the British and French diplomats, Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot, initialled an agreed memorandum. The agreement was ratified by their respective governments on 9 and 16 May 1916.

State of Aleppo former country

The State of Aleppo was one of the five states that were established by the French High Commissioner in Syria and Lebanon General Henri Gouraud in the French Mandate of Syria which followed the San Remo conference and the collapse of King Faisal I's short-lived monarchy in Syria.

The approximate line of most of the border was set by the Treaty of Ankara in 1921. It was delimited more precisely between Meidan Ekbis and Nusaybin in 1926, and between Nusaybin and the tripoint with Iraq in 1929. [1] A special case is the Turkish Hatay Province, which remained autonomous until 1923, then became part of Syria as the Sanjak of Alexandretta (Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence (1936)), briefly became independent as the Hatay State in 1938 before being annexed by Turkey as the Hatay Province in 1939. The new international border was demarcated by a Franco-Turkish commission in 1938/9, with a protocol of 3 May 1939 mentioning 448 boundary markers placed in numerical order, and an additional protocol signed in Antioch on 19 May 1939 mentioning some additional markers. Some further changes were made in an agreement signed in Ankara on 23 June 1939. [2]

Treaty of Ankara (1921)

The Ankara Agreement (1921) was signed on 20 October 1921 at Ankara between France and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, ending the Franco-Turkish War.

Meidan Ekbis Village in Aleppo Governorate, Syria

Meidan Ekbis or Maydan Ikbis is a town in northern Syria, administratively part of the Afrin District of Aleppo Governorate, located north of Aleppo. Nearby localities include Afrin and Rajo to the south. The town lies on the Syria–Turkey border and is a stop on the main railroad crossing into Turkey on the Baghdad Railway and Istanbul-Aleppo-Damascus line. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, Meidan Ekbis had a population of 1,302 in the 2004 census. By late July 2013, People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters controlled the town. On February 23rd 2018, the village came under the control of Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army.

Nusaybin Place in Mardin, Turkey

Nusaybin is a city in Mardin Province, Turkey. The population of the city is 83,832 as of 2009. The population is predominantly Kurdish, Sunni as well as Yezidi, but a small Assyrian community can also be found.

Because of Turkey's membership in NATO (1952) and OSCE (1973), its border to Syria also forms an outer border of these organisations. 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. [3] Turkey began construction of a border barrier in 2014.

NATO Intergovernmental military alliance of Western states

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

Syrian Civil War Ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria

The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria fought between the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, and various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations. The war is currently the 2nd deadliest of the 21st century.

Refugees of the Syrian Civil War or Syrian refugees are citizens and permanent residents of the Syrian Arab Republic, who have fled from their country since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 and have sought asylum in other parts of the world.

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. [4] According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 361 civilians have been killed, including 69 children and 34 women. [5] 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. [6]

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights information office documenting human rights abuses in the Syrian Civil War

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, founded in May 2006, is a United Kingdom-based information office whose stated aim is to document human rights abuses in Syria; since 2011 it has focused on the Syrian Civil War. It is frequently quoted by major news outlets since the beginning of the war about daily numbers of deaths from all sides in the conflict and particularly civilians killed in airstrikes in Syria. The SOHR has been described as being "pro-opposition" and anti-Assad.

Human Rights Watch New York City-based non-governmental organisation

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures some governments, policy makers and human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights, and the group often works on behalf of refugees, children, migrants and political prisoners.


Map of the Tigris-Euphrates river system across the eastern part of the Syro-Turkish border Bassin Tigre Euphrate.jpg
Map of the Tigris–Euphrates river system across the eastern part of the Syro-Turkish border

Due to the annexation of the Hatay Province, the post-1939 Syrian–Turkish border touches the Mediterranean coast at Ras al-Bassit, south of Mount Aqra ( 35°55′44″N35°55′04″E / 35.9288°N 35.9178°E / 35.9288; 35.9178 ). The Hatay province borders the Syrian Latakia and Idlib governorates. The westernmost (and southernmost) border crossing is at 35°54′18″N36°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″N36°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. [7]

Ras al-Bassit

Ras al-Bassit, the classical Posidium or Posideium, is a small town in Syria named for a nearby cape. It has been occupied since at least the late Bronze Age and was a fortified port under Greek and Roman rule. Herodotus—although not later classical geographers—made it the northwestern point of Syria. Its beaches have a distinctive black sand and are a popular resort destination within Syria.

Latakia Governorate Governorate in Syria

Latakia Governorate is one of the fourteen governorates (provinces) of Syria. It is situated in western Syria, bordering Turkey. Its reported area varies in different sources from 2,297 km² to 2,437 km². The governorate has a population of 991,000. Members of the Alawite sect form a majority in the governorate, although Armenians, Turkmen, and Sunni Kurds form the majorities in the Kessab, Jabal Turkman, and Jabal al-Akrad regions respectively. The capital of Latakia had, by 2010 estimates, 400,000 inhabitants, 50% of whom were Alawites, 30% were Sunni, and 20% Christian.

Idlib Governorate Governorate in Syria

Idlib Governorate is one of the fourteen governorates (provinces) of Syria. It is situated in northwestern Syria, bordering Turkey. Reports of its area vary, depending on the source, from 5,933 km² to 6,097 km². The Governorate had a pre-war population of 1,464,000. The provincial capital is Idlib.

Karadouran / al-Samara beach near Kessab, Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish borderline, where Mount Dyunag ends up in the Mediterranean Sea Mount Dyunag and Karadouran beach, Kessab, Syria.jpg
Karadouran / al-Samara beach near Kessab, Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish borderline, where Mount Dyunag ends up in the Mediterranean Sea

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), 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″N36°39′54″E / 36.830°N 36.665°E / 36.830; 36.665 .

With the exception of the 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, to the Turkish–Syrian–Iraqi tripoint on the Tigris River. On the Turkish side, the European route E90 runs alongside the length the border, crossing the Euphrates at Birecik and the Tigris at Cizre.

The Syrian Aleppo Governorate has a 221 kilometres (137 mi) long northern boundary with the Turkish Kilis, Gaziantep, and Şanlıurfa provinces.

For a significant distance, from Çobanbey to Nusaybin 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. After another 100 km it finally reaches the Tigris River south of Cizre.

For the final 30 km, the border now follows the course of the Tigris, turning towards the south-east, until it reaches the Syrian–Turkish–Iraqi triple-point at 37°06′22″N42°21′18″E / 37.106°N 42.355°E / 37.106; 42.355 .

Border crossings

From west to east, as of 1 July 2019. [8]

#TurkeySyriaTypeStatusControl on Syrian side
1 Yayladağı Kessab RoadRestrictedGovernment of Syria
2 Kızılçat Samira Closed Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
3 Topraktutan Yunesiyeh ClosedFree Syrian Army affiliated groups
4 Aşağıpulluyazı Ein al-Bayda Restricted Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
5 Güveççi Kherbet Eljoz RestrictedHayat Tahrir al-Sham
6 Karbeyaz (Yiğitoğlu) Darkush ClosedHayat Tahrir al-Sham
7 Ziyaret Al-Alani ClosedNationalist Islamists
8Cilvegözü, near Reyhanlı Bab al-Hawa RoadOpenLocal civil administration
9 Bükülmez Atme RestrictedNationalist Islamists
10 Hatay Hammamı Al Hammam Restricted Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
11 İslahiye Meidan Ekbis RailwayClosedTurkish-backed rebels
12 Öncüpınar al-Salameh RoadOpenTurkish-backed rebels
13 Çobanbey Al-Rai RailwayRestrictedTurkish-backed rebels
14 Karkamış Jarabulus RoadOpenTurkish-backed rebels
15 Mürşitpınar Ayn al-Arab (Kurdish: Kobanê)RailwayClosed Autonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
16 Akçakale Tall Abyad (Kurdish: Girê Spî)RoadClosedAutonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
17 Ceylanpınar Ras al-Ayn RoadClosedAutonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
18 Şenyurt Al-Darbasiyah RoadClosedAutonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
19 Nusaybin Qamishli Road, railwayClosedGovernment of Syria
20 Cizre Al-Malikiyah ClosedAutonomous administration (Kurdish-led)

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. 1 2 Syria – Turkey Boundary Archived 2008-02-27 at the Wayback Machine , International Boundary Study No. 163, The Geographer, Office of the Geographer, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State (7 March 1978).
  2. Syria-Turkey Boundary (1978). "L'Accordo franco-turco del 23 giugno 1939 per la cessione del Sangiaccato di Alessandretta", Oriente Moderno Anno 19, Nr. 8 (Agosto 1939), pp. 438-443.
  3. "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.
  5. "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.
  6. "Turkey/Syria: Border Guards Shoot, Block Fleeing Syrians". Human Rights Watch. February 3, 2018.
  7. 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.
  8. "Turkey / Syria: Border Crossings Status (1 July 2019)". ReliefWeb. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2019.