Funerals held for four Turks killed in border gate attack
Relatives of Ali Sille, 26, one of the 14 victims who died during an explosion at a crossing on turkey's border with Syria, mourn on his grave during his funeral in the town of Reyhanlı on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province on Feb. 12, 2013. (Photo: Reuters, Ümit Bektaş)
Four Turkish citizens who were killed in a blast at the Turkish-Syrian border gate of Cilvegözü on Monday in what appeared to be a car bomb attack were buried after the noon prayer on Tuesday.
At least 14 people, including the four Turkish citizens, were killed and at least 28 were injured in the car bomb attack. The bodies of Hasan Dağ, 18; Ahmet Taş, 35; İbrahim Yalçınkaya, 15; and Ali Sille, 29, were claimed from the Reyhanlı State Hospital morgue by the victims' families and each was buried in his home village.
The bodies of the Syrians killed in the blast are still being held in the hospital's morgue by Turkish officials and will be handed over to families when legal procedures are completed.
Speaking at a dinner attended by all ambassadors to Turkey from EU countries and held at the Prime Ministry in Ankara on Monday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the incident is of critical importance for showing how Turkey is right regarding its sensitivity about terrorism and the ongoing conflict in Syria, as well as the efforts it is making to enhance security.
Speaking at the scene of the blast, Syrian opposition campaigner Osama Semaan said he believed the explosion was an attack by Assad loyalists in response to an offer of talks from opposition Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib to members of the regime.
The Cilvegözü border gate, several kilometers outside the town of Reyhanlı, sits opposite the Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa, which opposition forces captured last July. Refugees cross back and forth and Turkish trucks also deliver goods into the no-man's land between the two gates, where they are picked up by Syrians.