Turkish troops and military vehicles deployed towards the border with Syria on Thursday as a precaution after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan gave orders to react to any Syrian threat approaching the frontier.
Erdogan, who has given shelter in the border area to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, announced the new rules of engagement for Turkish troops on the border after Syrian air defences shot down a Turkish warplane last Friday.
“I can confirm there are troops being deployed along the border in Hatay province. Turkey is taking precautions after its jet was shot down,” a Turkish official said on condition of anonymity.
He said he did not know how many troops or vehicles were being moved but said they were being stationed in the Yayladagi, Altinozu and Reyhanli border areas of Turkey’s southern Hatay province. He said anti-aircraft guns were also being stationed along the border.
A military convoy of vehicles including anti-aircraft missile launchers from the 5th Mechanised Armoured Brigade left a base in the southeastern city of Gaziantep on Thursday and travelled to neighbouring Kilis province on the border, video from the Turkish Dogan news agency showed.
Rebels reject interim govt
The opposition Syrian National Council said on Thursday it will not join any interim government until President Bashar al-Assad quits after it was said peace envoy Kofi Annan was pushing the idea. “The opposition has not yet received the details of the proposal,” SNC spokesman George Sabra said. “But its position remains the opposition would not participate in any project unless Assad is removed.” AFP