Turkey deployed tanks and anti-aircraft guns to reinforce its military units on the Syrian border, as the U.S. considers strikes against Syria.
Convoys carrying tanks and rocket-launchers headed to border areas in Hatay, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa provinces today and yesterday, according to Hurriyet newspaper and Anatolia news agency. Tanks, missile launchers and anti-aircraft guns on hilltops near the border town of Kilis were aimed Syria, state-run TRT television said. F-16s, tanker and cargo planes as well as at least one drone landed at southern Incirlik Air Base, Anatolia said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has expressed a willingness to join any international coalition against Syria, yesterday vowed to respond to any attack from its southern neighbor. He spoke after Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad was cited by the Wall Street Journal as saying that Syria will strike U.S. allies Israel, Jordan and Turkey if the Obama administration attacks his country over its alleged use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21. Continue reading
Step by step, day by day, the war inches closer.
Israel and Turkey agreed last week to start pooling their incoming intelligence on the Syrian civil war, debkafile’s intelligence sources report exclusively. Exchanges will take place at the highest level between Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s MIT.
The United States will also provide additional security for Syria’s southern neighbor by the relocation of US Patriot missile interceptors from West Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to northern Jordan opposite the Syrian border.
US Patriots were deployed on the Turkish-Syrian border last year. Continue reading
Should this incident have happened, this opens up an entirely new can of worms for Damascus. In turn, the US could now have stronger relations with Turkey due to a common cause. This could pave the way for a much needed boost in leveraging political pressure against the Moscow-Beijing axis in hope of pushing for the removal of the current Syrian regime, something both countries are strongly against. Having said that, we’re also lucky we didn’t see the entire middle east catch on fire in a regional war over the incident.
The Turkish military reported Friday, June 22, that radar and radio contact was lost with a Turkish air force F-4 plane after it took off from Erhac Airport in the eastern province of Malatya while flying over the sea opposite the Turkish-Syrian border. The incident took place not far from the Syrian port of Latakia.
debkafile’s military sources report that Syrian anti air defenses shot the plane down in an ambush calculated to retaliate for the defection of the Syrian Air Force pilot Col. Hassan Maray al-Hamadeh to Jordan a day earlier with his MiG-21 warplane. Officials in Damascus are certain his defection was organized by US and Turkish intelligence.
DamPress and other Syrian news agencies reported at 16:00 local time Friday that two military aircraft infiltrated Syrian airspace over Latakia and broke the sound barrier while flying low in threatening formation. One was hit by Syrian anti-air fire and the second escaped. DamPress speculates that the intruders were either Turkish or Israeli. The Turkish press reported later that a search operation rescued the two pilots of the downed aircraft from the sea. The plane has not been found. Since Thursday, Syria’s entire air fleet has been grounded while its spy agencies screen flight personnel for more potential defectors.
Full article: Syria air defenses down Turkish military plane over Latakia (DEBKAfile)