ANKARA, September 5 (Itar-Tass) - Due to the growing tensions in Syria and plans of the Western states to conduct a military operation against the country’s leadership, Turkey has started to strengthen its border areas. The local television reported on Thursday that additional armoured units were sent to the border guards in the Kilis, Gaziantep and Hatay provinces.
A military convoy of 20 vehicles, including tanks, light armoured vehicles, mobile missile launchers has arrived at Hatay. Also, ammunition has been delivered to the border zone and military units deployed there. In the Sanliurfa province, which has the longest border with Syria, three field hospitals have been deployed.
Turkey’s defence department has not commented on the redeployment of troops, which, observers say, is carried out within the framework of general measures to beef up security in regions bordering on Syria. These measures are linked with Turkey’s fears concerning the developments in Syria and possible aggression from Damascus. Earlier, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Miqdad stated that “if Israel, Jordan and Turkey take part in the US military operation against Syria, Damascus will retaliate.” Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said commenting on these words that he saw no reason for such statements. “Our country is always ready for such a turn of events. I have no idea about the extent of Syria’s readiness for this,” he said.
Over the past few weeks, chemical defence units have been working in the border regions. A total of about 400 people are taking measures to repel a possible chemical attack or eliminate its consequences. Mobile and stationary shelters have been equipped, the population has been informed about precautions and chemical attack countermeasures, chemical defence equipment has been delivered to the border areas. The government’s emergency management department for its part posted on its website detailed instructions in case of incidents involving chemical warfare agents.