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Stray bullet from Syria border unrest kills 16-year-old Turk

25 July 2013, 11:15

ISTANBUL, July 25, 2013 (AFP) -A 16-year-old Turk died Thursday after being hit in the head by a stray bullet from clashes across the border in war-torn Syria, hospital sources said, the second such death on the Turkish side this month.

Ahmet Gunduz died in hospital in the capital Ankara after being struck by gunfire on July 16 in the small southeastern town of Ceylanpinar, which lies across the border from the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain.

A 17-year-old boy from the same Turkish town died on July 17, also after being shot by a stray bullet from the Syrian side, to the outrage of local residents already angered by a string of Turkish injuries from the spillover fighting in recent months.

The Ras al-Ain violence continued on Wednesday, with rebels from the Free Syrian Army clashing with Kurdish fighters loyal to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) -- the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kurds make up 10 percent of Syria's total population, with most living in the north of the embattled country.

Since the outbreak of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad more than two years ago, most Kurds have tried to ensure that their territory remained free of violence.

In mid-2012, Assad's forces withdrew from majority Kurdish areas, and Kurdish militia became responsible for security there.

Although many Kurds are hostile to a regime that has oppressed them for decades, they have also tried to keep the rebels out of the areas they control in order to avoid sparking a confrontation with the army.

Turkey is currently home to some 500,000 Syrian refugees.



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