Turkey and Jordan said preparing buffer zones inside Syria. Israeli air support mooted. Putin issues warning

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The Turkish and Jordanian armies were reported on June 30 to be getting ready to cross into Syria for the first time since war engulfed that country in 2011, and set up security buffer zones. Both are impelled to fight ISIS, oppose the Assad regime and anxious to stem the flow of refugees, but there are also differences in their objectives and it is not clear if they are coordinated.

Turkey has prepared 18,000 troops to carve out a buffer zone in northern Syria and use its air force to impose a no-fly zone against Syrian flights. Middle East sources report that the Jordanian army is also on the ready to cross into southern Syria. Jordan and Israel are reported to be planning joint air cover and the creation of a parallel no-fly zone in the south.

These preparations prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to pledge his support for the Assad regime .On Monday, June 29, Putin summoned Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem to his Kremlin office from a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to tell him that Russia’s “policy to support Syria, the Syrian leadership and the Syrian people remains unchanged.”

Putin has repeatedly warned Western governments against military intervention in the Syrian war or any attempt to oust Bashar Assad, warning that if foreign troops go into Syria, Moscow will respond in kind.

The Russians have not spelled out what action is contemplated, but they have options: they maintain naval and marine forces in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions able to reach Syria at short notice. South Russian air force bases are also close enough to interfere with no-fly zones being setup over Syria.

Sources in Ankara claim that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already given Turkish units their orders to go into Syria, although this is not confirmed. Others use the term “Western intervention” – suggesting that US and NATO are involved in the Turkish initiative. This may refer to US Air Force squadrons based in southern Turkey possibly providing air cover.

Full article: Turkey and Jordan said preparing buffer zones inside Syria. Israeli air support mooted. Putin issues warning (DEBKAfile)

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