Turkey Deploys Troops to Syrian Border

As Russia denies reports it wants Bashar al-Assad out
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2012 7:32 AM CDT
Turkey Deploys Troops to Syrian Border
In this photo taken Tuesday, April 10, 2012, the border crossing between Turkey and Syria is seen from a refugee camp near the border.   (AP Photo/Germano Assad)

Turkey is apparently not turning the other cheek, with the country's media today reporting that a military deployment is en route to its border with Syria. A dozen trucks and short-range antiaircraft missiles are making their way toward the south-central Kilis Province, which contains both a military base and a Syrian refugee camp. Earlier reports identified an additional 30 trucks that had been sent to various bases studding the border. The Wall Street Journal notes that Turkey hasn't maintained a heavy military presence along its 565-mile border with Syria since 1999. The move follows PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Tuesday announcement that the country would react to "any Syrian military elements" that threaten its border. In other major Syria developments:

  • Turkey isn't the only country getting press vis-à-vis Syria this morning: Russia is denying earlier reports that it supported Kofi Annan's plan for a new national unity government that could include the opposition—and would almost certainly exclude Bashar al-Assad, saying it would not endorse any calls for him to step down, reports the AP.
  • Though Assad's forces have long-controlled Damascus, the rebels seemed to make inroads this morning via an attack on the car park at the country's main court. State TV described a blast and wafts of black smoke rising over the city and cited a "terrorist explosion." No word on casualties, reports Reuters.
  • Syria will get its refurbished helicopters, a Russian defense official announced today. But he gave no indication of how or when the three copters would be delivered, reports the AP.
(Read more Bashar al-Assad stories.)

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