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Today at about 11:00 a.m. local time a large group of Syrians, reportedly in the hundreds, tried to cross into Turkey at the Akçakale border crossing (36°42'28.39"N 38°57'28.32"E) which is across the border from the rebel controlled Syrian border crossing in Tel Abyad.

The Syrians reportedly did not have passports, were refused entry by the Turkish officials at the border, and were asked to come back later in smaller groups to be processed.

The Syrians then rioted, set several cars and a few small buildings on the Turkish side of the border on fire, and prevented the Turkish fire department from putting out the fires.

The Syrians then withdrew back to the Syrian border crossing and shots began to be fired from the Syrian border crossing towards the Turksh border crossing, seriosly wounding at least two Turkish police officers, five Turkish soldiers, and four Turkish civilians who were on the Turkish side of the border.

Machine gun fire can be heard on some of the videos taken when these events occurred.

One of the wounded police officers later died in the hospital.

A large number of Turkish police officers and soldiers have been sent to the area.

Following these events a large number, reportedly around one thousand, of Syrians who were in Akçakale quickly crossed the border back to Syria.

In Akçakale there was a very vocal and very angry reaction to these events.

There are reports that the Syrians who had tried to cross into Turkey were smugglers and other reports that at least some of them were FSA forces.

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Some photographs and a video of the events:

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I have been to the Akçakale border crossing many times. The area on the Syrian side of the border is controlled by the Syrian rebels - ostensibly by the FSA but there is a strong presence of armed radical Islamic groups.

Since November antagonism has been growing between the Turkish government and the radical Islamic groups in Syria. Until then they had had good relations.  

There is no way that the people who rioted and killed the Turkish police officer were able to do these things without the knowledge and permission (at least to cross over the border) of the rebels who control the Syrian border crossing and the town of Tel Abyad.


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