Turkey has boosted its military defenses on the volatile border over the past week, stationing tanks and anti-aircraft missiles there as well as bolstering troop numbers, as fighting between Islamist-led groups and Syrian regime forces in the northern city of Aleppo has intensified.The Turkish build-up has fed speculation that the government is planning to intervene in Syria to push ISIS jihadists back from the border and halt the advance of Kurdish forces who have made gains against the extremists in the area.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday ruled out any prospect of an immediate intervention in Syria.
But Hurriyet said on Sunday that the Turkish Armed Forces had ordered all commanders of troops stationed along the border to attend a meeting at military headquarters in Ankara next week to discuss the details of such an operation.
Turkey is one of the fiercest opponents of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus and has taken in more than 1.8 million refugees since the war in Syria began.
Ankara also fears that the growing power of Kurdish forces there will embolden Turkey’s 15-million strong Kurdish minority, who have been fighting on and off to end the Turkish occupation of their land.
Many Kurds suspect that any Turkish intervention in Syria will be directed largely, if not entirely, at Kurdish militias as opposed to ISIS. They note that Turkey made no moves to intervene while ISIS controlled most of the border, and that talk of an invasion only began when Kurdish forces pushed the jihadists out.
Some have even gone so far as to suggest some kind of tacit agreement between Ankara and ISIS, though the Turkish government denies the claims.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he would “never allow” the formation of a Kurdish state along Turkey’s southern borders.
Full article: Turkish Army Chiefs Meet to Discuss Syria Invasion: Report (Arutz Sheva 7)