ANKARA, Turkey: Two soldiers and a police officer were shot dead Thursday in southern Turkey when assailants carried out an attack that a top official said may be linked to events in Syria.
Using long-range rifles, they fired from a truck after being ordered to stop at a checkpoint on a highway in Ulukisla, a town near the border with Syria, according to local media.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attack a “vile act of terror” while Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said some information he received linked the incident to “Syria”.
Atalay did not elaborate but local media reported that people aboard the truck were from war-torn neighboring Syria.
“Two of our soldiers and one police officer have become martyrs,” Erdogan said during an election rally in northwestern Turkey.
Police arrested two of the three assailants while one was still missing, he added without revealing their identities.
Atalay said: “It is a very grave incident … in the run up to (local) elections” on March 30.
Turkey, a fierce opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, has been accused of supplying arms to several rebel groups fighting to topple Assad since 2011.
Ankara has categorically denied the claim.