In the aftermath of the recent escalation in tensions between Turkey and Syria, whereby Syria was accused of hostile behavior for firing and taking down a Turkish fighter jet that supposedly spent at least 5 minutes in its airspace, today was a quiet day. At least until recently we saw the following footage in a clip uploaded to YouTube. Supposedly, Turkey has sent troop reinforcement to the Syrian border, after Erdogan's warning that soldiers approaching the border will be treated as targets, the clip explains, citing Turkish daily Zaman reported citing the Cihan news agency. This is unverified, nor is the statement that 15 military vehicles, including tanks and cannons, were dispatched to the border from Diyarbakir.
We are skeptical of the validity of the above especially since earlier today Russia said that Tuesday's Syrian shooting down of a Turkish warplane should not be seen as a provocation and warned world powers against using the incident to push for stronger action against Damascus. It was Moscow's first official reaction which made it quite clear that Russia will not just stand idly by awaiting for NATO to unilaterally take a decision to punish the middle eastern nation for daring to defend itself. But then again, this may be merely misreading Russia's resolve, in collaboration with China, to defend its own national strategic interests.
Finally, why we are concerned this may well be a provocation, but in the other direction, is that the only "news" of this development so far has come from the Times of Israel: a media outlet which the traders amongst you may say is "axes" vis-a-vis a particular outcome.
Large numbers of Turkish troops — including at least 15 long-range artillery pieces and tanks – moved to the Syrian frontier from the eastern city of Diyarbakir. A video published by the Turkish Cihan News Agency showed Turkish tanks being transported by carrier trucks toward the frontier.
The mobilization followed statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Turkish military will respond to any future violation of its border by Syrian military elements.
“As awe-inspiring as Turkey’s friendship is, Turkey’s wrath is equally awe-inspiring,” Erdogan told the Turkish parliament on Tuesday.
“The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed,” Erdogan said. “Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target.”
Erdogan closed his remarks with an especially harsh condemnation of Syrian President Bashar Assad: “Turkey and the Turkish people will continue to provide all support until the people of Syria have been saved from this tyrannical, murderous, bloody dictator and his gang.”
We will keep track of real developments surrounding this latest geopolitical risk flare up, and keep readers updated.