Syria’s conflict with Turkey has intensified as Turkey continues firing at targets inside Syria in retaliation for Syria killing two Turkish women and three children on Wednesday by sending shells across the border into Turkey.
While Turkey’s leadership says it is not interested in a war with its conflict-torn neighbor, leaders in Damascus want to send Syria a warning that it will not tolerate the indiscriminate killing of its citizens. The Turkish parliament is discussing the possibility of sending troops into Syria.
A Syrian activist group based in the UK confirmed that the Turkish fire has killed several Syrian troops.
Turkey has also asked the UN Security Council to take “necessary action” to stop Syrian “aggression.” Western nations—the U.S., the UK, France and the European Union—have condemned Syria’s actions and NATO has held an urgent meeting to support Turkey, demanding “the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally.”
On the other hand, Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has asked Syria to acknowledge officially that the cross-border attack was “a tragic accident” which will not happen again.
In its retaliatory strikes on Syria, Turkey is sending artillery about 6 miles inside the Syrian border, targeting a district called Tall al-Abyad. To observers, Turkey’s efforts to engage the world community in condemning Syria is a sign that the Turkish government’s patience has run its course and Turkey is preparing for extremely aggressive responses to any Syrian efforts to hurt Turkey or its citizens.
But most experts believe that neither Syria nor Turkey want any kind of war. Turkish public opinion has been staunchly against Turkey getting involved in the Syrian conflict—though public opinion may be moving with the killing of the women and children by Syrian bombs.
In addition, Syrian President Assad already has enough problems dealing with the rebels in his own country over the last 18 months.
According to the BBC, the office of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey would “never leave unanswered such kinds of provocation by the Syrian regime against our national security.”
Syria’s Information Minister Omran Zoabi offered Damascus’s “sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to our friends the Turkish people. The border with Turkey is long, illegal arms trafficking takes place along the border and armed groups move along the border.”
Syria, he said, respected the sovereignty of neighboring countries.