Turkish police clean on February 13, 2013 the site where a vehicle exploded two days earlier in the Syrian buffer zone
Turkish police clean on February 13, 2013 the site where a vehicle exploded two days earlier in the buffer zone between Turkey's Cilvegozu border crossing and Syria's Bab al-Hawa post. © Mira - AFP/File
Turkish police clean on February 13, 2013 the site where a vehicle exploded two days earlier in the Syrian buffer zone
AFP
Last updated: March 12, 2013

Turkish court charges Syrian bombing suspects

A Turkish court has formally charged four Syrians and one Turk with a deadly bomb attack on the volatile border with Syria last month, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

After testifying in court, the five were detained late Monday on charges of "destabilising the country, plotting a bomb attack to kill 17 people and possessing explosives," in connection with the February 11 minibus bombing, Anatolia reported.

The news agency put the toll at 17 instead of the initial 14.

The minibus exploded in the buffer zone between Turkey's Cilvegozu border crossing and Syria's Bab al-Hawa post, the latest spillover of Syria's civil war.

The Turkish government, whose security forces arrested the five on Monday, put the blame on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Interior Minister Muammer Guler said Monday: "We proved their links with the Syrian intelligence and army."

Turkish government officials declined to comment on details of the operation they launched to capture the suspects but Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said after a cabinet meeting late Monday it was a movie-like operation.

Local media quoted the suspects as telling the court that they carried out the bomb attack upon instructions from a Syrian army commander in return for $35,000 (25,000 euros).

One of the suspects also confessed that they were going to bomb a large refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border if they had not been captured, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

Turkey, a one-time Syria ally now vehemently opposed to Assad's regime, has taken in some 190,000 refugees registered in several camps along the border and 100,000 more across the country, according to foreign ministry figures.

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