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Turkish Forces, Syrian Kurds Clash Over Border Wall

Clashes broke out Friday between Turkish security forces and Syrian Kurds near the border town of Kobani, Syria.

Turkish security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a stone-throwing crowd protesting Turkey’s construction of a wall on the border.

Kurdish officials told VOA that Turkish security forces also opened fire on the protesters, killing at least one person and injuring tens of others. The Turkish forces denied the accusations.

Ibrahim Kurdo, the foreign minister of Kurdish self-declared Kobani Canton, said two people had died of gunshot wounds and “many others were wounded" and were being treated at hospitals in Qamishli and Kobani.

When asked about the reports, Turkish military sources told Reuters, "A group approached the border and attacked construction machinery, workers and soldiers on the border with stones. Tear gas and water cannon were used against them. There has been no incident of opening fire."

The Turkish government began placing concrete barriers along its border with Kobani four days ago. The government looks at the town with unease because of its control by the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units (YPG).

“Turkey is trying to build a wall of shame and is trying to divide homes,” Kurdo said, “Because of this, people reacted and protested today. As Turkish forces pulled back during the night, tensions subsided.”

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group, while Washington sees it as the most effective Syrian ally in the fight against the Islamic State group.

VOA’s Kasim Cindemir contributed to this report.

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