Courtesy of Stop NATO
Voice of Russia
October 6, 2012
Syria and Turkey on the brink of war
Turkey has started preparations for a war on its own. The country’s parliament has granted the government a year’s mandate for carrying out trans-border military operations.
“This is not just militant rhetoric but an order to the armed forces, in case of an emergency, to cross the border and carry out military activities on Syrian territory. What is this if not a war?”
Separatists in the areas near the border are becoming more active. In addition, experts fear provocations from militants who could shell Turkish territory to give rise to a war.
This week’s conflict in Syria has put that country on the brink of a full-scale military confrontation with Turkey.
On Wednesday night, a shell launched from Syria went into Turkish territory, killing five people. Such incidents are becoming more frequent. In response, Turkey opened fire on Syrian territory. The UN Security Council condemned the situation and Damascus apologized. Nevertheless, at a closed session, the Turkish Parliament sanctioned carrying out military operations on neighbouring territory.
The next clash on the Syrian-Turkish border occurred on Saturday morning. A mortar shell launched from Syria landed on the Turkish side. In response, the Turkish military opened fire. They also had to shoot back on Friday. These events are raising special attention due to the tragic incident on Wednesday when the Syrian army fired at an area in the southeast of Turkey killing five people and injuring from 9 to 13, according to different sources. There was no end to Ankara’s indignation. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Turkey’s NATO allies express their attitude to the situation.
The international response to the developments was reserved but had a definite anti-Syrian flavour. The UN Security Council condemned the Syrian army for shelling Turkish territory and demanded that Damascus stop violating international law and should respect its neighbour’s sovereignty. The declaration of the NATO North Atlantic Council was also rather vague, stating that the alliance fully supported Turkey and demanded that Syria should immediately stop any aggressive activities against Ankara. Due to no clear-cut support from its allies, Turkey has started preparations for a war on its own. The country’s parliament has granted the government a year’s mandate for carrying out trans-border military operations.
Azhdar Kurtov, expert of the Institute of Strategic Estimates comments:
“Declarations made by the Turkish leadership speak for themselves. This is not just militant rhetoric but an order to the armed forces, in case of an emergency, to cross the border and carry out military activities on Syrian territory. What is this if not a war? Though, certainly, Turkish commanders and politicians will think twice before starting an invasion. In my opinion, they will carry out a massive probing, just like towards another neighbouring country, Iraq. The Turkish armed forces supported by their air force are quite capable of carrying out local hostilities on Syrian territory.”
Damascus seems to be very well aware of the danger. It quickly apologized, expressed condolences and promised to avoid such accidents in the future. Still, it is becoming more and more difficult to do this. Separatists in the areas near the border are becoming more active. In addition, experts fear provocations from militants who could shell Turkish territory to give rise to a war. At present, neither Ankara nor NATO are prepared to start hostilities, Gumer Isayev, analyst from the Centre for Studying Today’s Middle East believes.
“The aggravation of relations between those two countries is a thin line, crossing which could turn the internal Syrian conflict into an international one. We could have expected this long ago as there have been some other incidents. At that time there were also forecasts that this could be a reason for conflict. Still, even today Turkey and NATO are not prepared for a full-scale interference in the conflict.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that it hopes for a dialogue between Turkey and Syria in order to sort out the border accident. Moscow is sparing no effort in trying to lower tension in the region. Both Ankara and NATO understand the danger of a war against Damascus. The absence of a UN mandate is only part of the problem. The Syrian army is strong, well-trained and well-armed. A foreign intervention would inevitably result in strengthening Bashar al-Assad’s position. But the main problem is that Turkey is risking to find itself between two fronts, expert of the Institute of the Middle East Sergey Seryogichev says.
“Turkey is held back by the absence of open and official support from the US and other key NATO countries. The Turks also fear that if they started an aggression it could aggravate the problem with the Kurds. The Syrian authorities would help Kurds with weapons, so as to open a second front against Turkey. In case of Turkish intervention, the Syrian government could take advantage of the situation to consolidate great masses of the population under its leadership. Part of the secular opposition would have to join the wide front of the national Syrian forces to defend the country’s sovereignty, thus supporting the al-Assad regime. All rebels on Syrian territory would be considered dangerous enemies and cities and villages would defend themselves even more fiercely than now.”
This week, radical fighters against Bashar al-Assad’s regime made themselves conspicuous again. A series of explosions occurred in the centre of Aleppo killing at least 40 people and injuring 90. Both servicemen and civilians were among the victims.
Xinhua News Agency
October 6, 2012
Turkey deploys military vehicles along border with Syria
ANKARA: Military vehicles of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were deployed in southeastern Turkey along the border with Syria on Saturday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
The vehicles sent to the town of Suruc in the southeastern Sanliurfa province included a large number of tanks and missile defense systems, according to the report.
Turkey and Syria have been exchanging fire sporadically on the border for four days after a mortar shell from the Syrian side fell Wednesday in the Turkish border town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province and killed five Turks.
The Turkish government said Wednesday in a statement that “Our armed forces in the border region have given the required response in line with the rule of engagement. Targets in Syria, which were detected by radar, were hit by shelling.”
“Turkey will never remain unresponsive against these sorts of provocations of the Syrian regime within the framework of rules of engagement and international law,” the statement said.
In an emergency session on Thursday, the Turkish parliament approved a motion for cross-border military operations inside Syria.
October 6, 2012
Shelling resumes at Turkish-Syrian border – reports
The Turkish military reportedly fired at Syria on Saturday morning in response to mortars from Syria landing near a Turkish farm. If follows a similar incident on Friday.
RT’s correspondent Paula Slier reports that the shelling of Turkish territory is done from a Syrian region controlled by rebel forces, which prompts some observers to speculate that the rebels are trying to provoke their ally Turkey into a military intervention against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
Xinhua News Agency
October 6, 2012
Russia urges Turkey to exercise restraint amid tensions with Syria
MOSCOW: Russia on Friday urged Turkey to restrain from any step that may further aggravate its border tensions with Syria.
“We hope that the Turkish side would exercise restraint and would not undertake any step that may further aggravate the situation in the region,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posed on its official website.
The ministry said that Moscow has already taken notice of statements by officials from the Turkish government and the Foreign Ministry that Ankara would do its best to prevent the escalation of tensions and would coordinate its policy on Syria with the international community.
“Russia continues calling for a peaceful settlement to the crisis in Syria by the Syrians themselves in strict compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the Geneva communique, ” the ministry added.
October 6, 2012
Russia sends relief supplies to Syria
MOSCOW: The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations has sent relief supplies to Syria. The Russian emergency airplane Il-76 took off at 06:00 Moscow time on Saturday from the Ramenskoye airfield in the Moscow Region to Damascus, the information department of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reported. “The airplane is carrying about 25 tonnes of relief supplies,” the information department said.
This is already the third batch of relief supplies for Syria over the past month. Two Russian emergency airplanes have earlier brought about 80 tonnes of food products to Damascus.
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