Shell-Shocked Turkey Readies for Syria Conflict
After artillery exchanges between Turkey and Syria, Ankara is preparing for conflict and at the same time stating it does not intend to declare war. The West has responded slowly to play down the clash’s importance.
Over the last few weeks Turkish troops on the border with Syria have observed and noted the movements of Syrian artillery units across the border near Akcakale in southwest Anatolia. Using these observations, the military and politicians in Ankara were able say where the deadly grenades had been fired from just a few hours after an attack on a Turkish border town occurred on Wednesday. Turkish officials were also convinced the shots were intentionally fired.
In response, Turkish howitzers targeted a Syrian unit that had been located by radar and which, according to reports, was located anywhere from three kilometers to 30 kilometers into Syrian territory.
Spark before the flame?
Turkey is not limiting its response to howitzer fire. The air force and navy were put on alert, according to press reports. On Thursday, Turkey renewed its retaliatory shots at Syria.
Few doubts remain about Turkey’s resolve to consider a full military reaction against Syria. The Turkish parliament set to meet Thursday morning for an emergency session and give their blessing for potential deployment in Syria. A regional surface war as a result of unrest in Syria could now, as German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has warned for months, become a realistic scenario, though an aide to Turkish Prime Minister Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters Thursday that Turkey did not intend to declare war on Syria.