Thursday, June 23, 2011

Could War Break Out between Syria and Turkey?

The Telegraph reports a "stand-off" between Syrian and Turkish troops at Syria's northern border, to which Syrian forces commanded by the Syrian president's murderous brother, Maher al-Asad, have chased refugees streaming toward Turkey to escape being rounded up and/or shot:

An immediate cross-border exchange was averted after Turkish troops withdrew a few hundred yards. But, in a message of intent, they donned combat helmets and mounted a large Turkish flag above their new positions.

Fearing that the Syrian crisis could cause instability to spread into its territory, Turkey has ordered Mr Assad to end the military operations in the north, dismiss his brother and institute immediate reform.

According to Syrian opposition activists, Turkey has given Mr Assad until the weekend to respond.

Syria's decision to move troops even closer to the Turkish border despite the ultimatum suggests a determination by Mr Assad to engage Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, in a battle of nerves. The Syrian president is incensed that Turkey has given sanctuary to some of his most high-profile opponents.

But such defiance is unlikely to make the Turks back down.

Amazing to remember here that only a few months ago, Messrs. Erdogan and (Bashar) al-Asad were on excellent terms as Turkey pursued its "no problems" foreign policy with its neighbors - Iran included.

And bear in mind: If Syria were to initiate hostilities against Turkey . . . Turkey is a member of NATO.  What happens then?

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