Reyhanlı Bombings – what i witnessed

It was a very dramatic moment.

Nearly a thousand of people were at the town centre of Reyhanlı where the second car-bomb exploded and killed most of the 52 victims, [the story of attack on May 11 on HDN] because a police officer had found two new bodies under a manhole cover.

The voice of a man in his thirties silenced the chaotic noise of police, rescue teams, protesters, press members and mourning relatives of victims.

“Let us all die here, what do we have left to live for?” he shouted from the second floor of a heavily damaged building. they immediately burried their loved ones, I wrote their anger next day on May 12 on HDN. 

My photo-journalist colleague Emrah Gürel from the HDN and I have arrived Reyhanlı on previous day (May 12) after a flight from Istanbul to Adana and driving for 3 hours to reach Syria border.

It was 3 am when we reached the bombed city centre which still smoked and had a terrifying view. We walked over the bombed area; it was like being in a Hollywood-made war movie scene, tens of burned vehicles, shattered roads, half-collapsed buildings…

There was only a police officer standing guard. My piece regarding this crime scene investigation published on HDN  on May 18.

The next day police found three new bodies on the street we walked. I had no idea that we could face a victim’s dead body while walking.

Reyhanlı is a little town and the population is nearly 70,000 according to official numbers but after the start of a civil war in Syria this has changed.

In the beginning locals welcomed the refugees and did their best for those people, who were running from Bashar Al-Assad’s forces but then the civil-war grew and things have began affecting Turkey’s southern borders as well. I wrote their stories for the HDN on May 13..


May 12, at 3 am, I am talking to a local youngster who was still in shock after deadly attack, we are right on the area where the bomb exploded.

(Photographer: Emrah Gürel)

Syria civil war’s death toll “in Turkey”:

On June 24, 2012, a Turkish jet was downed in international airspace, and two pilots died. Turkish Foreign Ministry said it was Syria shot down the jet.

 On October 05, 2012 Syrian shelling from the other side of the border has killed five Turkish nationals, a mother and her four children, in another border town, Şanlıurfa’s Akçakale, triggering retaliatory fire and ratcheting up the tense relations one more time.

On February 11, 20143, a car coming from Syria exploded at Hatay’s Cilvegözü border gate with Turkey and killed 14 people.

On May 11, 2013, two cars exploded in Reyhanlı town centreand killed 52 (5 of them Syrian refugees) civillians…


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