Following the warplane incident on June 22, when Syrian forces shot down a Turkish warplane, Turkish and Syrian relations have become further stressed by additional military response. Yesterday, Turkey responded by scrambling six fighter jets near the Syrian-Turkish border. Turkish officials claim this is a response, not only to the June 22 incident, but three additional incidents which occurred last Saturday, including Syria sending helicopters near the border. This is not the first action issued by Turkey in regards to this incident. On Friday, Turkey began deploying rocket launchers and anti-aircraft missiles along the border. According to the AP news agency, Syrian helicopters have flown within 6.5km (4 miles) of the Turkish border.
At this time, there appears to be continued confusion amongst nations as to whether the Turkish warplane, involved in the June 22 incident, crossed over into Syrian airspace. While U.S. news source CNN, has reported that “Both Syria and Turkey acknowledged the plane strayed into Syrian airspace, but Turkey said the incursion was accidental and quickly corrected,” Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan insists that the warplane was international airspace, not over Syria, stating that the Wall Street Journal (which cited an unnamed military source within Turkey) had “unfortunately published a story which was not true.”
Regardless, Syrian and Turkish relations appear to be continuously worsening with the threat of increased military action on both sides. Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey was changing its military rules of engagement, any hostile border movement will be “treated as a military target” and “will be dealt with accordingly.”
Brad Bossenbroek is a rising third year law student at the University of Denver and a Publishing Editor for The View From Above.