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TheStreet Open House

Syrian War Clouds Turkish Plan To Clear Land Mines

There is no reliable data for casualties from mines laid by the Turkish military, whose fight with the PKK has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The rebels, who regularly target security forces with mines and roadside bombs, took up arms in 1984 in the name of Kurdish rights; Turkey and the West label them terrorists.

Residents around Akinci recalled a villager who lost a limb to a mine several years ago while cutting trees for military sentries. Halil Kaya, 64, said he had heard of several dozen people over the decades who were killed or injured by mines. A deep furrow runs down Kaya's right forearm from a Turkish military bullet in his days as a smuggler.

Mehmet Dagdeviren, 49, said the Turkish military had softened and now might only fire warning shots at smugglers. He interrupted the chat to take a phone call, then rushed to a car and drove away.

A delivery from Syria needed collection.

___

Umut Colak in Akinci, Turkey, Bulut Emiroglu in Istanbul and Ben Hubbard in Beirut contributed.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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