TENSIONS BETWEEN Turkey and Syria are continuing to escalate rapidly, despite the international community’s call for restraint. Turkish officials have accused a Syrian passenger plane, which was passing over Turkish airspace, of carrying “illegal cargo” from Damascus. Turkey intercepted the plane while it was on its way to Damascus, and searched it for hours before letting it go.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed that “objectionable” cargo had been confiscated from the plane. While he did not elaborate on the nature of the seized material, unofficial reports say that it was military communication equipment. Turkey placed an arms embargo on Syria last year, after Bashar Al Assad’s regime brutally began to crush the nascent rebellion.
Tensions have been particularly high between the two neighbours since Syria fired mortar shells across the border last week that killed five Turkish civilians. Consequently, Turkey retaliated by firing back into Syrian territory. Even though Syria maintains that the cross-border shelling was an accident, Turkey’s top military commander has warned that his country will give a harsher response if the shelling continues.
And even though Turkish citizens are strongly against a larger offensive against their rogue neighbour, Turkey-Syria relations are bound to worsen if the civil war in Syria continues. Khaleej Times