Syria–Turkey border

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 kilometres (250 mi), crossing the Euphrates and reaching as far as the Tigris. It follows 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 Sea coast at the foot of Jebel Aqra.


The current SyroTurkish border was established in the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, based on the Sykes–Picot Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the French Third Republic in 1916. It was the northern border of the State of Aleppo, the Mandatory Syrian Republic, and the 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.

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]

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.

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]


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 (35.9288°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 35.905°N 36.010°E / 35.905; 36.010, some 3 km west of Yayladağı. The border reaches its southernmost point at 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]

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 36.830°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 37.106°N 42.355°E / 37.106; 42.355.

Border crossings

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

# Turkey Syria Type Status Control on Syrian side
1 Yayladağı Kessab Road Restricted Syria
2 Kızılçat Samira Closed Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
3 Topraktutan Yunesiyeh Closed Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
4 Aşağıpulluyazı Ein al-Bayda Restricted Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
5 Güveççi Kherbet Eljoz Restricted Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
6 Karbeyaz (Yiğitoğlu) Darkush Closed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
7 Ziyaret Al-Alani Closed Islamists
8 Cilvegözü, near Reyhanlı Bab al-Hawa Road Open Local civil administration
9 Bükülmez Atme Restricted Islamists
10 Hatay Hammamı Al Hammam Restricted Free Syrian Army affiliated groups
11 İslahiye Meidan Ekbis Railway Closed Syrian National Army
12 Öncüpınar al-Salameh Road Open Syrian National Army
13 Çobanbey Al-Rai Railway Restricted Syrian National Army
14 Karkamış Jarabulus Road Open Syrian National Army
15 Mürşitpınar Ayn al-Arab Railway Closed Autonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
16 Akçakale Tall Abyad Road Open Syrian National Army
17 Ceylanpınar Ras al-Ayn Road Closed Syrian National Army
18 Şenyurt Al-Darbasiyah Road Closed Autonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
19 Nusaybin Qamishli Road, railway Closed Syria
20 Cizre Al-Malikiyah Closed Autonomous administration (Kurdish-led)
20 Kumlu Afrin Open Syrian National Army

See also


  1. 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.
  4. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
  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.
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