Tensions rise along Turkey-Syria border
ANKARA – Turkish President Abdullah Gul said yesterday the “worst-case scenarios” were now playing out in Syria and Turkey would do everything necessary to protect itself, as its army fired back for a sixth day after a shell from Syria flew over the border.
Gul said the violence in Turkey’s southern neighbour, where a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad has evolved into a civil war that threatens to draw in regional powers, could not go on indefinitely and Assad’s fall was inevitable.
“The worst-case scenarios are taking place right now in Syria… Our government is in constant consultation with the Turkish military. Whatever is needed is being done immediately as you see, and it will continue to be done,” Gul said.
“There will be a change, a transition sooner or later… It is a must for the international community to take effective action before Syria turns into a bigger wreck and further blood is shed, that is our main wish,” he told reporters in Ankara.
Turkey’s armed forces have bolstered their presence along the 900-kilometre border with Syria in recent days and have been responding in kind to gunfire and shelling spilling across from the south, where Assad’s forces have been battling rebels who control swathes of territory.
Turkey’s Chief of Staff, General Necdet Ozel, travelled to the southern city of Adana to inspect the region patrolled by Turkey’s 2nd Army, which protects the border with Syria, the military said on its website.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the escalation of the conflict along the Turkey-Syria border, as well as the impact of the crisis on Lebanon, were “extremely dangerous”.
“The situation in Syria has dramatically worsened. It is posing serious risks to the stability of Syria’s neighbours and the entire region,” he told a conference in Strasbourg, France. (Reuters)