As tensions between Ankara and Damascus rise over the downed fighter jet, Turkey has sent tanks and other armored vehicles to the Syrian border, amid belligerent threats of retaliation.
The heavily guarded convoy that departed from the city of Diyarbakir reportedly included 15 armored tanks, long-distance guns and other military vehicles, Dogan news agency reports.
This comes as Turkey’s Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that any Syrian forces approaching the Turkish border would be treated as a direct threat. Addressing the Turkish parliament on Tuesday, Erdogan lashed out at Syria, saying it poses a threat to Turkey’s national security and calling the Syrian government tyrants.
Tensions between the neighboring countries escalated after Syria shot down a Turkish military plane on Friday. Syria insists the plane was still in its territory when its air defense forces engaged it, citing the fact that it was shot down by an artillery gun with a maximum range of 2.5 kilometers rather than a longer-range surface-to-air missile.
The Turkish prime minister has reiterated an earlier assessment that the plane was downed after leaving Syrian airspace, saying Turkey has proof of this.
Author and radio talk-show host Dr. Kevin Barrett believes that the excitement over the fighter jet downing incident has all the marks of a typical war orchestration event.
“The people who want war try to use every sort of immediate inflammation of people’s emotions around in this case of the shooting down of the plane to rally public opinion for war,” he told RT.
However, Barrett remains optimistic saying that “now we are several days past that point” and things may move back on track towards negotiations.
“The Turkish people never wanted war,” he insists, citing opinion polls that indicate that Turks oppose intervention in Syria by more than a two-thirds majority and want their government to play a more balanced role.
There is no chance that violence can bring about any solution to the crisis due to Syria’s internal political complexity, Barrett says, stressing that there is no alternative to Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan. “Everybody has to back down from the tension around this fighter jet shooting down incident and get serious about peace.”