(Hürriyet Newspaper, 5 February 2014)
//ed. note: one of our occasional historical reports
about Turkey, this one however with very current
'Increased level of protection for
Turkish soil in Syrıa.'
Security measures at the tomb of Süleyman Shah,
Turkish territory inside Syria where Turkish soldiers
stand guard, has been increased. Previously, there
were 15 soldiers guarding the tomb, led by a non-
commissioned officer. The number of troops has now
been doubled and more senior personnel skilled in
internal security tactics have started to move to the
The completion of a guard post is being undertaken
by the 2nd Border Battalion, based in Suruç in
Şanlıurfa province. Military sources say that the changes
are in response to the increase in internal tumult in Syria.
The Turkish troops only mission there is to guard the
tomb and the guard post.
Reaction plans have been prepared to repel any possible
attack on the tomb or the guard post. Because both
structures are on sovereign Turkish soil, the soldiers have
the right to respond in kind under the rules of engagement.
There has been no threat to the tomb or the guard post,
which are located in an area populated mostly by Turkmens,
since the çivil war in Syria began. However, after the PYD
(a Kurdish group in Syria) began to gain control in northern
regions last year there has been a perceived threat to the site,
prompting the military build-up.
High-level commanders have been inspecting the site
frequently of late. Mortar rounds have fallen a few kilometers
away from the tomb site during fighting between the Syrian
Army and opposition groups.
Süleyman Shah was the grandfather of Osman, the founder
of the Ottoman Empire. Süleyman was martyred, along with
two guards, while crossing the Euphrates River in 1086 and
was buried at Caber Fortress, about 100 kilometer south of
the current tomb site, west of the city of Rakka.
Years later, when Ottoman Sultan Yavuz Selim conquered the
region, Selim built the tomb for Süleyman. Under the terms
of an agreement made with the French on 20 October 1921,
the tomb remained in Syrian territory but the land was
considered to be sovereign Turkish territory. This status was
confırmed by the Laussane Agreement of 1923 that certified
Süleyman Shah's tomb is
located on the Euphrates
River in Syria, about 70
kilometers SW of Suruç
in Şanlıurfa province.