Syria on war footing. Believes foe Turkey may stage provocation


By Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV — The Syrian military is on its second highest alert level, believing Turkey may be attempting to stage a provocation in hopes of drawing Damascus into a conflict, a top Syrian official told KleinOnline.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Syria noted unusual Turkish troop movements in recent days along the Syria-Turkey border.

Turkey claimed the movement was to guard refugees coming into the country from war-torn areas of Syria. The Syrian official, however, said Damascus believes Turkey may be trying to “surprise” Syria with some sort of provocation.

The Syrian official said President Bashar Assad asked Russia to investigate the Turkish Army deployments.

Already, shots were fired today by Syrian forces toward a refugee camp in Turkey, located across the border from Syria.

Turkish media reported that Syrian troops fired at Syrian refugees trying to cross the border with Turkey.

This marked the second border incident in recent days. On Monday, Syrian forces fired into Turkey and Lebanon, killing two people in a Turkish refugee camp.

The Syrian official talking to KleinOnline claimed that in both incidents Syrian troops were first fired upon by insurgents along the Turkish border.

Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem phoned his Turkish counterpart over the matter, securing a Turkish pledge to not take any “unilateral” measures, the Syrian official said.

Still, Syria believes foe Turkey has been disappointed with the lack of momentum for a NATO air campaign to target Assad’s regime and that Turkey may be trying to agitate for an international military solution to violence in Syria.

Assad has been engaged in a months long violent crackdown on a well-armed insurgency targeting his regime.

Last week, KleinOnline reported Turkey has been surprised by a sudden behind-the-scenes change in attitude from the Obama administration regarding Assad’s, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

The sources said that while U.S. rhetoric against Assad remains strong, the Obama administration is suddenly dropping the ball by supporting a NATO campaign against Assad. The sources said the U.S. is suddenly scaling back material support for the Syrian opposition.

The Turkish sources said Turkey and the Syrian opposition are “disappointed” with the change in attitude, which they claim comes without any diplomatic justification from U.S. officials.

The sources said some Turkish officials believe Obama may have made a deal with Syria or Iran.

Earlier this month, KleinOnline quoted informed Middle Eastern officials saying Obama has been engaged in secret, back-channel talks with Iran in which he informed Tehran’s leaders he is completely opposed to any Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The officials said the behind-the-scenes talks aim to secure a guarantee from Iran that it will not retaliate against the U.S. in the event of an Israeli military strike, the officials said.

It was unclear what, if anything, Obama offered Iran in exchange for a pledge against targeting U.S. installations, including in the Gulf.