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Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing

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Title: Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing  
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Subject: Reyhanlı bombings, Ancient settlements in Turkey, Byzantine architecture, Reyhanlı, Kaman-Kalehöyük
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Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing

Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing
Passport Control Building in 2006
Official name Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing
الحدود باب الهوى
Carries Commercial Goods, Vehicles
Crosses Border between Turkey and Syria
Locale Cilvegözü, Turkey
Bab al-Hawa, Syria

The Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing (Arabic: الحدود باب الهوى‎, "Gate of the Winds"[1]) is an international border crossing between Syria and Turkey. It is situated on the M45 Syrian Highway and D827 Turkish Highway between the cities of İskenderun and Aleppo, and is known for its long lines of trucks and buses.[2] The closest town on the Turkish side of the border is Reyhanlı in the Hatay Province, and the closest towns on the Syrian side are ad-Dana and Atarib. The crossing is the site of a 6th-century triumphal arch.[1][3]

In the ongoing Syrian Civil War, it was a frequent place of crossing for Syrians trying to reach the refugee camp in nearby Reyhanlı.[4] Drivers complained in December 2011 that they had been stalled at the crossing for days after customs officials stopped allowing vehicles with Turkish registrations to enter Syria.[5] The crossing is a major route for smuggling, particularly oil and gas, and during the conflict has seen a dramatic rise in weapons smuggling.[6] On 19 July 2012, Syrian rebels from the Free Syrian Army seized the border and defaced images of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[7][8][9][10] On 22 July 2012, Turkish armed forces further restricted border crossings of their own nationals.[11]

In September 2012 foreign jihadis raised the black flag of al-Qaida at the border post, leading to a confrontation with the Free Syrian Army.[12][13] On February 11, 2013, a car bomb in a Syrian-registered minivan was detonated on the Turkish side of the crossing meters from the Cilvegözü customs office.[14] 13 people—including 3 Turkish civilians—were killed, while 28 others were wounded and 19 vehicles were damaged.[15] The Turkish government has labeled the bombing a terrorist act,[15] and said that Turkey's interior, justice and customs ministers would visit the area to help the investigation.[14] On 7 December 2013, the Islamic Front took over the crossing from the Free Syrian Army,[16] and as of July 2014, they were manning the Syrian side with members of the Salafist militia Ahrar ash-Sham.[17]


There is a monumental Roman archway in Bab al-Hawa that was part of a city wall.[18][19] There is a further complex of Byzantine architecture near the archway, that has been largely destroyed and re-used in border construction. It features a church along with another large rectangular building.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Photographs C_042 Album C 1905 - Syria, Turkey". Gertrude Bell Archive.  
  2. ^ "Getting there & away".  
  3. ^ "Bab al-Hawa Archeological Site, Bridge between Syria and Turkey". SANA. 9 March 2011. 
  4. ^ McDonnell, Patrick (15 July 2012). "Syria rebels seek weapons, money on Turkish border".  
  5. ^ Champion, Marc (8 December 2011). "Tension Rises at Turkey-Syria Border".  
  6. ^ "Syria: Demonstrations to Celebrate National Independence Day of Syria". DayPress. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Syria conflict: Rebels seize Turkey, Iraq border posts".  
  8. ^ Levs, Josh; Gast, Phil (19 July 2012). "Syria shows al-Assad, amid speculation on his whereabouts".  
  9. ^ Fulya Ozerkan (22 July 2012). "Turkish truck drivers accuse Syrian rebel fighters of looting". Your Middle East. AFP. 
  10. ^ "Syrian army regains control of Bab al-Hawa". PressTV. 28 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Turkey restricts border crossings with Syria". Al Jazeera English. 22 July 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (23 September 2012). "Syria: the foreign fighters joining the war against Bashar al-Assad". The Guardian. 
  13. ^ Amos, Deborah (19 September 2012). "Syrian Rebels Fear Radicals May Hijack Revolt". NPR. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Syria crisis: 'Powerful' minibus explosion kills 13".  
  15. ^ a b Saad, Hwaida; Gladstone, Rick (11 February 2013). "Syrian Insurgents Claim to Control Large Hydropower Dam".  
  16. ^ Dziadosz, Alexander; Afanasieva, Dasha (7 December 2013). "Syrian Islamists seize Western-backed rebel bases: monitoring group". Reuters. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "Rebel infighting closes Bab al-Hawa crossing". The Daily Star. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Warwick Ball (16 January 2001). Rome in the East. Taylor & Francis. pp. 213–.  
  19. ^ Terry Carter; Lara Dunston; Amelia Thomas (1 July 2008). Syria and Lebanon. Lonely Planet. pp. 127–.  
  20. ^ John F. Haldon (30 September 2010). Money, Power and Politics in Early Islamic Syria: A Review of Current Debates. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 183–.  

External links

  • Bab al-Hawa - Archaeological Gate Links Syria and Turkey
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