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Turkey closes a border gate to Syria

20 September 2013

Turkey has temporarily closed its Oncupinar border gate in the southeastern province of Kilis, after fighting between Syrian rebels and an al-Qaeda front group in the northern town of Azaz.

Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) declared a truce Sept.20 after two days of clashes near the Turkish frontier.

Azaz, on the Turkish border, was one of the first towns to be overrun, in July 2012, by FSA rebels, who set up their own administration there.

The Oncupinar crossing in Turkey’s Kilis province sits opposite the Syrian Bab al-Salameh gate, around five kilometers from Azaz.

“It is a temporary measure,” a Turkish diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity told a Turkish daily, confirming that the Oncupinar gate had been closed. “At this stage, it has been closed as a precaution because of the mobility on the other side of the border.”

Kilis Governor Suleyman Tapsiz, meanwhile, said the border gate had been closed to everything apart from vehicles carrying humanitarian aid.

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