Turkey beyond borders: a history of Ankara's attempts to control the frontier
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At times, the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) has seemed to hinge on the 560-mile line that divides Turkey and Syria. The United States and Russia have frequently urged Ankara to seal off its southern border in order to cut off supplies and volunteers destined for the radical group. For much of the conflict, Turkish officials have responded coolly to such calls. Some have argued that closing off the border is impossible. ISIS has seized significant portions of territory on the Syrian side of the perimeter, and walling off, or manning, such a distance would be expensive and require a huge number of security personnel. Further, stopping all traffic out of Syria would also mean turning away refugees en masse.