Turkey wanted to send a “message” last week after some Syrian rockets landed in a southern Turkish town and killed five people. So Turkey began launching shells of its own into northern Syria, declaring it had a right to defend itself, while parties on both sides, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declared they didn’t want an escalation in the conflict.
But Turkey hasn’t stopped shelling. In fact, Monday was the sixth straight day Turkey sent shells into Syria, and has now bolstered its military presence along its southern border, Reuters said. Ankara has also reportedly deployed trucks of soldiers to patrol the border.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul justified the continued attacks, telling reporters in Ankara, “The worst-case scenarios are taking place right now in Syria ... Our government is in constant consultation with the Turkish military. Whatever is needed is being done immediately as you see, and it will continue to be done.”
The shelling and military forces amassing on the border are just to “keep the situation on the Syrian border under control,” the Turkish Weekly said. The publication also confirmed that military equipment was delivered to the Sanliurfa province, the same area where the five people were killed last week by Syrian shells.
The Turkish parliament had already approved a mandate for cross-border military operations.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the escalation of conflict was making the region even more unstable; Lebanon has also been feeling the effects of the violence in Syria.
“The situation in Syria has dramatically worsened,” Ban said at a press conference in Strasbourg, France. “It is posing serious risks to the stability of Syria’s neighbors and the entire region.”
Syria insists last week’s shelling into Turkey was an accident, and apologized to Turkey via the U.N., but has not issued a public apology, and has failed to keep more rockets from flying in Turkey’s direction.