The Turkish military shelled Syria for a sixth straight day Monday after the provincial governor’s office claimed a Syrian round landed in a cotton field near the town of Altinozu in the border province of Hatay.
The CIA-backed Free Syria Army is based in Antakya, the largest city in Hatay. The FSA is armed and funded by the Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and receives logistics from the United States. As we noted in September, there is ample evidence that a large number of FSA rebels are in fact members of al-Qaeda.
The Hatay city of Akcakale is a key supply route for the FSA and other so-called rebels.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned of a regional conflagration and said “the worst-case scenario we have all been dreading” is unfolding on the border.
“You have to be ready as if you were going to war anytime,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.
On Saturday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the conflict on the border between Syria and Turkey may spread to neighboring countries and create a regional war.
In response to the latest incident, the Turkish military moved tanks and missile defense systems to the Syrian border. “A convoy of military vehicles towing howitzers headed toward the border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province today and the army sent reinforcements, including tanks and missile defense systems,” Bloomberg reports today.
According to Faruk Logoglu, head of Foreign Relations of the opposition Republican People’s Party in Turkey and the former Turkish ambassador to the United States, his country’s meddling in Syria has increased the possibility of war between the two nations and the prospect of a wider and far more devastating conflict in the region.
“This one-sided policy, aiming to remove Bashar al-Assad by intervention in the domestic affairs of our neighbor, really intensified the conflict, sharpened the conflict, and probably resulted in more deaths than would have [occurred] otherwise,” Logoglu said last week.