10 Dead in Fuel Tank Explosion near Turkey-Syria Border

At least 10 people were killed on Friday in an explosion after alleged smugglers set a fuel depot on fire in response to a police crackdown, a local official said.

The suspects set ablaze an illegal fuel depot located in the basement of a three-story building in a small village near Turkey's border with Syria, triggering a strong explosion that also wounded nine people.

Among the wounded were three suspected smugglers as well as several security officers, Anatolia news agency reported.

The suspects were trying to elude a crackdown by security forces who raided their shelter after a tip-off, Hatay city governor Celalettin Lekesiz was quoted as saying by Anatolia.

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, security along the lengthy border has weakened, with border towns becoming a hub for fuel smugglers, who can sell Syrian oil at a much higher price inside Turkey.

The explosion came days after twin car bombs rocked a border town in the same region on Saturday, killing 51 people. Official reports did not establish a connection between the incidents.

Those bombings were the deadliest case of what observers see as an increasing regionalization of the Syrian conflict that started in March 2011 and has taken 94,000 lives according to rights groups.

Ankara has sided with the rebels fighting to topple the Damascus regime and shelters around 400,000 refugees as well as army defectors along its frontier.

Source: Agence France Presse

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