Turkey threatens Syria with military retaliation

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, has threatened Syria with military retaliation if their border is encroached upon. Erdogan said "Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target." Turkish-Syrian ties have continued to deteriorate ...

ADEM ALTAN/AFP/GettyImages
ADEM ALTAN/AFP/GettyImages
ADEM ALTAN/AFP/GettyImages

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, has threatened Syria with military retaliation if their border is encroached upon. Erdogan said "Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target." Turkish-Syrian ties have continued to deteriorate over the downing of a Turkish military jet on Friday. Ankara also claims that Syria deliberately targeted a search-and-rescue plane that was on a mission to rescue survivors from the downed jet. After Turkey convened an emergency NATO meeting to discuss the incident, the secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, strongly condemned the shoot-down and expressed support for Turkey. But Rasmussen said that NATO was not considering an armed response. Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, emphasized that the country has "no intention" of going to war.

Turkey's southern border is a vital supply route for Syrian opposition activists, who move across weapons, communications equipment, field hospitals, and even salaries for soldiers who have defected. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Ahmad Berro, a former Syrian general who recently defected, said the country's armed forces were "destroyed physically and mentally." An official from the Free Syrian Army reported that eight more Syrian pilots had sought asylum in Jordan recently.

Syrian opposition activists have reported violent clashes in the suburbs of Damascus, near Republican Guard positions. The Local Coordination Committees of Syria report that 80 people were killed on Monday across Syria, 20 in Dara'a and 17 in Deir Ezzor. Meanwhile, Assad supporters in Beirut are suspected of perpetrating a series of incidents -- burning tires, shooting guns in the air, and erecting roadblocks -- in downtown Beirut, in addition to planting a land mine and grenades near a hospital.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, has threatened Syria with military retaliation if their border is encroached upon. Erdogan said "Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target." Turkish-Syrian ties have continued to deteriorate over the downing of a Turkish military jet on Friday. Ankara also claims that Syria deliberately targeted a search-and-rescue plane that was on a mission to rescue survivors from the downed jet. After Turkey convened an emergency NATO meeting to discuss the incident, the secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, strongly condemned the shoot-down and expressed support for Turkey. But Rasmussen said that NATO was not considering an armed response. Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, emphasized that the country has "no intention" of going to war.

Turkey’s southern border is a vital supply route for Syrian opposition activists, who move across weapons, communications equipment, field hospitals, and even salaries for soldiers who have defected. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Ahmad Berro, a former Syrian general who recently defected, said the country’s armed forces were "destroyed physically and mentally." An official from the Free Syrian Army reported that eight more Syrian pilots had sought asylum in Jordan recently.

Syrian opposition activists have reported violent clashes in the suburbs of Damascus, near Republican Guard positions. The Local Coordination Committees of Syria report that 80 people were killed on Monday across Syria, 20 in Dara’a and 17 in Deir Ezzor. Meanwhile, Assad supporters in Beirut are suspected of perpetrating a series of incidents — burning tires, shooting guns in the air, and erecting roadblocks — in downtown Beirut, in addition to planting a land mine and grenades near a hospital.

Headlines

  • Egypt’s president-elect, Mohamed Morsi, has started deliberating about the composition of his presidential team and cabinet.
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin traveled to Jerusalem to meet with Israeli leaders and discuss Iran’s nuclear program and the Syrian revolt.
  • Israeli firefighters are battling two large fires at Motza and Kibbutz Ma’ale HaHamisha, near Jerusalem.

Arguments & Analysis

The Civil War in the Syrian Opposition: How Long Can the Free Syrian Army Hold Off Its Islamist Rivals?’ (Tyler Golson, The New Republic)

"[There is] a larger clash that has mostly gone overlooked in the Western media-namely, the struggle between Syria’s two main armed opposition groups, groups that represent two radically different visions for Syria’s future. In that way, it’s not enough to simply know-as a recent article in the New York Times pointed out-that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with assistance from the CIA, are funneling arms and cash to certain Syrian rebel groups via intermediaries in Turkey. It’s also important to know that the other rebel groups-those with an Islamist political agenda-that the United States and its allies have decided not to support are distrusted by the Syrian people themselves. Indeed, Washington’s largely hands-off approach to the Syria crisis has so far been greatly assisted by the Syrian public’s broad rejection of the hardcore Islamist rebels. But there’s no telling how much longer America’s strategic interests and the Syrian people’s sympathies will remain in sync."

Can the Muslim Brotherhood Unite Egypt?‘ (Room for Debate, The New York Times)

Walid Phares: "The key for success is a massive reform from within the Islamist movement first, as a way to give rise to a liberal democracy. The next few years will depend on this historic decision."

Mustafa Akyol: "The upside is that the Turkish experience is in front of their eyes to take lessons. But the downside is that Egyptian Islamists – especially the hardcore Salafis – are much less modern than the Turkish Islamists to begin with. Moreover, they don’t have the A.K.P.’s business-minded middle-class base – dubbed by some as "Islamic Calvinists" – whose interests lay in the making of a more pragmatic and cosmopolitan vision."

Joshua Stacher: "Morsi’s position is unenviable. Yet, if a more pluralistic society is to emerge in Egypt, the Brotherhood will have to cut deals with society as well as generals. The fate of democracy or autocracy in post-Mubarak Egypt depends on which side Morsi and the Brotherhood end up drifting toward more frequently."

–By Jennifer Parker 

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