Turkey vs Syria
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Sep 28, 2012
Turkey: Risk worth taking for Syria safe zonesBy Jeremy Bowen
BBC Middle East editor, New York
The UN's failure to agree a way to deal with the worsening civil war in Syria has dominated the diplomatic week at the General Assembly in New York.
The UN is only as strong as the collective will of the Security Council - and, on Syria, the five permanent members of the council are deeply divided.
The split is along Cold War lines - France, Britain and the United States want tough sanctions against the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, which they say should go. But their resolutions have been blocked by Russia and China.
The Russians argue that a sudden power vacuum at the top in Syria could make matters even worse for the population.
They also believe that they made a mistake allowing a UN resolution last year against the Gaddafi regime in Libya which the western powers interpreted as a charter for regime change.
Syria's neighbour, Turkey, is as exposed to the fallout from the war as any country.
It has absorbed 120,000 Syrian refugees, 90,000 of whom are in camps.
At his country's mission opposite the UN headquarters in New York, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called again for the establishment of safe zones for refugees in northern Syria - which would take a considerable military operation.
Mr Davutoglu would not be drawn on the fact that inserting a military force into Syria to establish a safe zone would be an act of war.
The risk, he said, was worth taking to get humanitarian access to the huge numbers of displaced people inside Syria.
Establishing the zone would, he said, also send a signal to Assad's regime to stop attacks that kill or wound civilians.
"If you don't taken certain measures or certain steps on time in the future you will be facing more risks. Unfortunately, since there was no clear message and decisive position of the international community at the early stages of the crisis, Syrian regime felt confident to do more and more attacks," he said.
"And if you do not take certain decisions today for the women, children escaping from these attacks, then we will be facing more risks in the future."
#2 Sep 28, 2012
Failure 'like Bosnia'
The new envoy of the UN and the Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, is about to set out for a diplomatic swing through the region.
He gave the UN Security Council a gloomy assessment this week. Afterwards, he told reporters that there was "no disagreement anywhere that the situation in Syria is extremely bad and getting worse, that it is a threat to the region and a threat to peace and security in the world".
Mr Brahimi said he hoped for a diplomatic opening soon, and his staff say he is working on a peace plan.
One document he likes, which could be part of the ideas he is said to be sharpening, is one of the rare moments of diplomatic agreement between the five permanent members of the Security Council, after a meeting in Geneva in June.
Without naming names, it condemns violence, calls for Syrian sovereignty to be upheld, and most importantly for a 'transitional governing authority" that could include members of the current government.
The document is a framework that is coherent and makes sense. The only problem then is for Mr Brahimi to get the regime and its enemies to stop trying to kill each other and then sit down to talk.
If he can, he will have scored a remarkable and unexpected diplomatic triumph.
The UN cannot afford another failure. But, without united political action from the Security Council, it is hard to see how Mr Brahimi will be able to do better than the man he replaced as envoy, the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Turkey's foreign minister believes that the failure so far to get to grips with the war in Syria is already a "serious failure". He compared what is happening in Syria to the war in Bosnia 20 years ago.
"For three years such an inactivity in the 1990s in Bosnia resulted in 300,000 casualties, 100,000 rape cases against women, and a huge humanitarian tragedy. And the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went to Bosnia this year and apologised because of that inactivity," Mr Davutoglu said.
"I'm afraid maybe after some years another UN secretary general may have to go to Syria to apologise because of this inactivity. The UN Security Council should provide the solution. It should agree on basic principles."
The UN has never had a magic formula for ending wars. The time for diplomacy often does not come until the sides in a war have exhausted themselves.
It could be that not enough blood has been spilt yet to force the regime and its enemies to talk.
#3 Sep 28, 2012
In this scenario Turkey is the Western Democracy standing up for Free markets and Free Labor along with American Pie
Syria is the Communist physical embodiment of evil that is dumping money into the vote obama fund and generally just being evil
I take Turkey, total destruction of syrian regime if not annexed in some way physically into Turkey
(Great one commie in the region will go down)
Since: Oct 08
#4 Sep 28, 2012
A bit radical, but we might be able to make it work.
#5 Sep 28, 2012
Yeah, I thought it was a bit of a stretch as well, but Syria is a hardcore communist regime and allows those russian ships to use its docks. Without Syria, Iran will be alone, well outside of Armenia, another evil communist regime.
#6 Oct 3, 2012
Turkey hits targets inside Syria after border deaths
Turkish artillery has fired on positions inside Syria after shells from Syria killed five people in a southern Turkish border town.
A woman and her three children were among those killed earlier when the shells, apparently fired by Syrian government forces, hit Akcakale.
Turkey's response marks the first time it has fired into Syria during the 18-month-long uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Nato ambassadors discussed the crisis.
The military alliance issued a statement saying it "continues to stand by (Nato member) Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law".
Turkey's territory has been hit by fire from Syria on several occasions since the uprising against President Assad began, but Wednesday's incident was the most serious.
In a statement, the office of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Our armed forces in the border region responded immediately to this abominable attack in line with their rules of engagement."Targets were struck through artillery fire against places in Syria identified by radar.
"Turkey will never leave unanswered such kinds of provocation by the Syrian regime against our national security."
Syria said it was looking into the origin of the cross-border shelling that hit Akcakale. Information Omran Zoabi added: "Syria offers its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to our friends the Turkish people."
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu contacted UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, the UN's Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen after the incident.
Mr Ban urged Damascus to respect the territorial sovereignty of its neighbours, saying the cross-border incident "demonstrated how Syria's conflict is threatening not only the security of the Syrian people but increasingly causing harm to its neighbours".
Mr Rasmussen told Turkey's foreign minister that he strongly condemned the incident, a Nato spokeswoman said, and continued to follow developments in the region "closely and with great concern".
Mr Rasmussen has repeatedly said that Nato has no intention of intervening in Syria but stands ready to defend Turkey if necessary.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "We are outraged that the Syrians have been shooting across their border... and regretful of the loss of life on the Turkish side."
UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is in Turkey on a trade and diplomatic visit, said: "We condemn all violence by the Syrian regime and demand that it avoids any repetition of today's incident on the border with Turkey," he said.
Akcakale has been fired on several times over the past few weeks.
The BBC's Jim Muir says Syrian government forces are attempting to cut rebel supply routes by winning back the border crossing at Tall al-Abyad which the rebels seized last month.
Residents have been advised to stay away from the border, and more than 100 schools have been closed in the region because of the violence in neighbouring Syria.
#7 Oct 3, 2012
Turkey's state-owned Anatolia news agency reported that angry townspeople had marched to the mayor's office to protest about the deaths on Wednesday.
Town mayor Abdulhakim Ayhan said: "There is anger in our community against Syria," adding that stray bullets and shells had panicked residents over the past 10 days.
Wednesday's attack is believed to be only the second time that people have died as a result of violence spilling over the border from Syria into Turkey.
Two Syrian nationals were killed on Turkish soil in April by stray bullets fired from Syria.
In Syria itself, at least 34 people were killed and dozens wounded in a series of bomb explosions in the centre of Syria's second city, Aleppo, on Wednesday.
The attacks levelled buildings in the city's main square. A military officers' club and a hotel being used by the military bore the brunt of the blasts, some of which were carried out by suicide car bombers.
#8 Oct 3, 2012
Middle East and immediate area commies are:
Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Syria, Iran,(maybe Egypt not sure yet) I feel I have missed one.....
Saychelles as well due to the impact a possible future russian naval base will have
If Syria falls, then the only strong (relative) remants will be Iran, Greece,(maybe Armenia not so sure)
#9 Oct 4, 2012
Turkey Strikes Back for Second Day After Syrian Shelling Kills 5 Civilians
ISTANBUL For the second straight day, the Turkish military pounded targets inside Syria on Thursday in retaliation for a mortar attack a day earlier that killed five civilians in Turkey. The shelling came as the Parliament in Ankara debated measures permitting cross-border raids while senior officials insisted that NATO ally Turkey did not want a war with its Arab neighbor an escalation that could turn Syrias bloody civil strife into a regional conflict with international involvement.
Local news reports said Turkish shells fell inside Syria on at least 10 occasions after midnight, landing near the border town of Tel Abyad, some six miles inside Syrian territory, across a historic fault line where modern Turkey abuts Arab lands that once formed part of the Ottoman Empire.
State television said the shelling continued until dawn with four more barrages until the guns fell silent around 6:45 a.m. Activist groups in Syria said the shelling killed several Syrian government soldiers.
The exchanges sent tremors across a region fearful that the mounting violence in Syria will spill into neighboring countries. Ibrahim Kalin, a senior aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in a Twitter feed:"Turkey does not want war with Syria. But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary. In a separate message, he said:Political, diplomatic initiatives will continue.
The assurance came as western European leaders who have joined Turkey in supporting rebel forces in Syria sought to prevent the border clash from flaring out of control.
Catherin Ashton, the European Unions foreign policy chief, criticized Syria for Wednesdays mortar bombing, but urged restraint on all sides. The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said Turkeys response was understandable, an outrageous act has taken place, Turkish citizens have been killed inside Turkey by forces from another country.So we express our strong solidarity with Turkey, but we dont want to see a continuing escalation of this incident, he told Reuters.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to which Turkey belongs and whose charter calls in some cases for collective action when one of its members is targeted militarily, met Wednesday night to discuss the crisis, as Turkeys civilian and military leaders said Parliament would consider a motion on Thursday to permit further military action within Syria.
The main opposition party called the bill a motion for war and said it would vote against it. Mr. Erdogans government has the majority to approve the measure, similar to existing legislation permitting hot-pursuit raids to attack Kurdish rebel sanctuaries in Iraq.
The motion was seen as addressing the threat that the clashes would have serious consequences both militarily and in international law, analysts said.
Turkeys shelling into Syria late yesterday and the parliamentary motion drafted in emergency both aim at building pressure over Damascus, said Nihat Ali Ozcan, a strategy expert with the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.
Many felt disappointed about the governments lack of action when Syria shot down a Turkish warplane in June and got away with it, he said.
#10 Oct 4, 2012
Syria has intimated that it never intended to strike inside Turkey and its minister of information, Omran al-Zoaby, suggested on state television that Syria was defending against a regional threat that could affect Turkey and Syria.
The Syrian-Turkish border is a long one and is being used for smuggling weapons and terrorists, he said, adding that in response to border episodes, neighboring countries should act wisely and rationally and responsibly, especially in cases of the presence of armed terrorist groups who have their different agendas that are not targeting the Syrian national security but the regional security.
It was unclear if the mortar that struck Turkey was fired by government forces or by rebels fighting to oust the government of Mr. Assad, but Turkey believed it came from a government position, Turkish analysts said. Turkey has called in an emergency session at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and revised its engagement rules in a way to allow military action when its national security is threatened. It refrained from direct military engagement in response to the downing of its jet in international airspace.
Turkey is not a country wishing for war, but peace, Omer Celik, a senior government official, said on Thursday in a televised statement before the parliamentary debate, but he called on all parties to support what he called a measure to protect Turkeys sovereignty.
While Syria has offered condolences to Turkey over the death of its civilians and has said an investigation was under way, Mr. Celik said that the words of a regime killing its own people cannot be taken into account.
He called the government of President Bashar al-Assad a massacre network and declared:We are not in a position to take seriously anything this massacre network says.
In a statement carried by the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency, Prime Minister Erdogans office said Turkish forces used radar to identify targets to be hit after the atrocious attack from Syria in accordance with rules of engagement.
While suicide bombers killed dozens on Wednesday as violence surged in Syrias largest city, Aleppo, it was the cross-border strike that raised the stakes in a civil war that has left tens of thousands dead and forced more than a million people from their homes. The war has defied exhaustive diplomatic efforts by the global community. The events may increase pressure for the West to take military action, something Turkey has supported. The United States and its allies have balked at engaging in another armed conflict in the Muslim world that would be far riskier than NATOs intervention in Libya, which helped oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
The conflict in Syria is spilling well over its borders, said Andrew Tabler, a Syria analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.I dont see how the Obama administration continues policy as usual after this.
#11 Oct 4, 2012
But in the fog of war that has settled over Syria, where allegiances and motives are uncertain and a bloody stalemate has taken hold, some observers said they could not help wondering if the episode had been orchestrated by one side or another. The rebels have implored NATO to provide a no-fly zone or havens, and Mr. Assad may feel he can rally his supporters against foreign invasion, experts said.Various parties are trying to pull Turkey into the conflict, Atilla Sandikli, the director of the Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies in Ankara, Turkey, said on the Turkish channel NTV.
In Washington, George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, called the Syrian attack on Turkish territory yet another example of the depraved behavior of the Syrian regime, and why it must go.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was outraged by the mortar attack in Turkey.
After its meeting, NATO issued a statement saying the alliance continued to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law.
Turkeys military strike within Syria, which represented a further deterioration of relations between the onetime allies, came after several huge explosions struck a government-held district of Aleppo. The blast killed dozens of people and filled the streets with rubble in a square near a public park, according to video, photographs and reports from the Syrian government and its opponents.
At least two explosions, which both sides said appeared to be car bombs, struck Saadallah al-Jabiri Square near an officers club and two government-owned hotels that residents said had housed pro-government militiamen who had essentially taken over the square. Another explosion struck near the chamber of commerce in nearby Bab Jenine, both sides reported.
Jabhet al-Nusra, an insurgent group affiliated with Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility late on Wednesday for the suicide bombings, which caused anguish for government supporters and opponents alike. The scale of Wednesdays bombings seemed to deepen Aleppos sense of alarm and disgust, bringing expressions of horror and bewilderment from people on either side of the conflict.
Oh, my God, the destruction is huge, an accountant who works nearby, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Rami, said on his cellphone as he tried without success to approach the square, which he said was barricaded by security forces. Back in his office, listening to gunfire still echoing through the area, he wrote on Facebook:My soul has died and my body is waiting for its turn.
One Syrian activist, who uses the pseudonym Anonymous Syria, wrote on Twitter:Whoever is behind those explosions is a terrorist if civilians were killed. Whether it is the regime, Al-Nusra brigade or the Free Syrian Army.
In the square, men simply shouted obscenities and cursed the terrorists fathers. Their voices could be heard in the background as another man videotaped the bomb scene for a pro-government YouTube channel, panning over the corpses of two men in crisp camouflage uniforms who he said were would-be suicide bombers killed by security forces.
#12 Oct 4, 2012
Before the retaliatory strike by Turkey, the government said in a statement that its foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, had consulted Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, as well as Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations. The prime ministers statement said the strike was within the rules of engagement established after the Syrian military shot down a Turkish warplane in June, killing two pilots in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea. Syria had claimed the plane was flying over its own territory.
This last incident is pretty much the final straw, said Bulent Arinc, Turkeys deputy prime minister, as quoted by the Anatolian News Agency.There has been an attack on our land and our citizens lost their lives, which surely has adequate response in international law.
Tim Arango and Sebnem Arsu reported from Istanbul, and Anne Barnard from Beirut, Lebanon. Reporting was contributed by Alan Cowell from Paris, Hala Droubi, Hania Mourtada and Hwaida Saad from Beirut, and Thom Shanker from Washington.
#13 Oct 9, 2012
All b.s. no way Syria could take on turgay
They would never do it , and not at this moment
Smells like a set up
Remember the Maine
#14 Oct 10, 2012
Where is "turgay"? Is that one of them lesbian communes?
#15 Oct 19, 2012
Russian warship crosses Dardanelles
Russias destroyer-class warship Smetlivy, which patrolled waters off the coast of Syria in April and May, passed through the Dardanelles today amid heightened tension in Syria.
Accompanied by a Turkish coastguard boat, the Smetlivy sailed to the Aegean Sea. It is not clear whether the warship is headed to Syria or not.
Moscow is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has a naval base in Tartus.
Turkey fires on Syria in retaliation incident: state TV
Turkey's army fired on Syria today after two shells launched from Syria landed in Turkish territory, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported, underlining how tension between the two neighbours remains dangerously high.
TRT did not specify where the incident occurred and no further details were available. There were no reports of any casualties resulting from the exchange of fire.
Turkey has carried out a series of retaliatory strikes against President Bashar al-Assad's forces fighting rebels along the border since Syrian shelling killed five Turkish civilians in a Turkish frontier town at the start of October.
Syrian rebels clashed with Assad's troops in a town near the Turkish border province of Hatay on Friday ahead of moves to broker a brief ceasefire, a Reuters witness said.
A large plume of smoke could be seen rising from the Syrian town of Haram after an explosion around midday (0900 GMT). The morning was punctuated by sounds of small blasts and gunfire, said witnesses in the nearby Turkish village of Besaslan.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Friday for all sides involved in the Syrian conflict to observe a ceasefire during the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival next week.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is expected in Damascus later in the day to try to broker that ceasefire.
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