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Turkish troops seize suicide vests at Syria border

The United Nations has urged Turkey to open its borders to the Syrians [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 February, 2016

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A group of 34 people were stopped in Turkey's southeastern border town of Karkamis, after security forces found explosives and four suicide vests in baggage.

Turkish security forces seized explosives and four suicide vests in the baggage of a group of suspects stopped at the border with Syria.

"Between 12 and 15 kilos of explosives and four belts that could be used for suicide attacks were found in two bags," the Turkish army said in a statement on Wednesday.

A group of 34 people - four men, 10 women and 20 children - were stopped in Turkey's southeastern border town of Karkamis, the statement said.

The army did not name any armed group as being connected to the find, but Karkamis lies across the border from the Syrian town of Jerabalus, which is currently controlled by the Islamic State group.

The confiscation comes as around 30,000 Syrians are huddled on the border with Turkey at Oncupinar, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Karkamis, after fleeing a major government offensive, backed by Russian air power, in Aleppo.

Turkey, already hosting 2.7 million Syrian refugees, has so far refused to let the new wave into the country, providing humanitarian assistance across the border inside Syria.

The United Nations on Tuesday urged Turkey to open its borders to the Syrians, who have overwhelmed the emergency camps, where huge crowds including women and children have been forced to to sleep in tents, or in the open.

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has said that a "worst case scenario" could see up to 600,000 refugees arrive at the border.

Turkish police are on the alert for fighters slipping into the country, after a series of attacks on its soil claimed by the IS group.

In January, 11 German tourists were killed in a blast in Istanbul's historic centre, while in October a suicide attack killed 103 people at a demonstration in Ankara.

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