Turkey Deploys 25 F-16s To Syria Border
Turkey has confirmed that it is deploying at least 25 additional F-16 fighter jets at its Diyarbakir air base close to the border with Syria. Al Jazeera reports that Erdogan, Turkey's PM, noted that he does not want war but needs to prepare for anything and at the same time NATO's secretary general has "all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary."
Via Al Jazeera:
Turkey has confirmed it is deploying more fighter jets to an airbase close to the border with Syria, amid artillery exchanges along its tense southeastern border with Syria.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, addressed parliament on the issue on Tuesday, saying that his country does not want war, but that Turkey needs to be prepared for anything.
At least 25 additional F-16 fighter jets were deployed at Turkey's Diyarbakir air base late on Monday.
Meanwhile, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary-general, said that Ankara can rely on the alliance, which has "all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary".
"I would like to commend the Turkish government for the restraint it has shown in its response to the completely unacceptable Syrian attacks," Rasmussen said as he went into a two-day NATO defence ministers meeting.
"Obviously Turkey has a right to defend herself within international law," he said, noting that the alliance has "all necessary plans in place to protect and to defend Turkey if necessary".
"We hope it won't be necessary, we hope that both countries will show restraint and avoid an escalation of the crisis," he added.
Syrian shells last week killed five people in a Turkish border village, sparking a series of retaliatory strikes and a firm message of support from NATO for Turkey.
The Turkish parliament on Thursday gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged the Syrian government to declare an immediate truce to bring an end to the conflict that he said had left 20,000 dead over the last 19 months.
"It is unbearable for the [Syrian] people to continue like this," he said.
"That is why I have conveyed to the Syrian government [a] strong message that they should immediately declare a unilateral ceasefire."
"That is exactly what I have discussed and I am in the process of discussing with the member states of the [UN] Security Council and the countries in the region," he said.
Ban urged "the opposition forces to agree to this unilateral ceasefire when and if the Syrian government declares it" and he called on countries supplying arms to either side to stop in order to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.
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