Each block is 30 centimeters thick, three meters wide, weighs nine tons and can be moved from one location to another, the private Cihan news agency reported on Sunday. Construction began two days ago in Kuşaklı village of Hatay's Reyhanlı district; so far, 150 blocks have been put in place, according to the state-run Anadolu News Agency. Kuşaklı is located across the border from the Syrian town of Atmeh, which had been controlled by the al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) but was later taken over by other anti-regime groups in the course of infighting among opposition groups that began in January.
Turkey, which opened its borders to Syrian refugees after its civil war erupted, tightened security measures along the border when radical organizations such as ISIL and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front became stronger in the region. Smuggling has also emerged as a serious problem, due to a power vacuum on the Syrian side of the border.
American journalist ‘captured' on border
On Sunday the Turkish military announced that three people, including an American journalist, were captured as they were illegally crossing from Syria into Turkey.
The three people were trying to cross into Turkey on a boat when they were captured on Saturday by troops in Hatay province, the military said in the statement. The two other people were Syrians, according to the statement, but did not provide any other specific information regarding the identities of those captured.