Sunday, June 19, 2011

'Turkish copter violates Syria airspace'

A Turkish military Cobra helicopter (file photo)

Source: Press TV

A Turkish military helicopter has violated Syrian air space, amid reports of a possible Turkish effort to establish a buffer zone in the Syrian soil, a report says.

The helicopter with a commander and several military troops onboard entered Syrian airspace to conduct a reconnaissance flight over the two states' borderlines and to examine Syrian border regions, Turkish Kanal 7 reports.

Turkish TV channels are providing full media coverage of Syrian refugees' departure to Turkey, encouraging the Syrian border dwellers to take refuge in neighboring Turkey.

A report published in the Turkish daily Posta on Thursday said Turkey is mulling over sending its military forces into Syrian soil to establish a “buffer zone” should the recent turmoil in Syria skyrocket into a refugee crisis that would pose a threat to Ankara.

Since mid-March, Syria has been struggling with unprecedented unrest that has left scores of people dead, including many soldiers and other members of its security forces.

Syrian authorities blame armed groups and foreign elements for the violence, saying security forces have been given clear instructions not to hurt civilians.

Many of the refugees come from the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, where Syrian forces have reportedly engaged in heavy clashes with what the government has described as armed groups.

The developments come amid Ankara's recent adoption of a toughened stance vis-à-vis Damascus.

Citing a classified report, informed sources in the Syrian capital recently said the “unprecedented intensification” of unrest in Syria stemmed from deals between Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and some unknown groups in the region.

The Syrian government also says the weapons used against Syrian forces during the Jisr al-Shughour clashes were smuggled into the country from Turkey.

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