Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 03, 2012

Five Turks Killed Along FSA Supply Line

This incident could lead to a wider war on Syria:
Five people were killed and at least eight were wounded Oct. 3 when at least three Syrian shells struck the Akçakale district of eastern Şanlıurfa. One of those killed was a 6-year-old child, according to officials.

Akçakale is a few steps north of the border with Syria. There is a crossing point with the name Tal Abyad that the Free Syrian Army captured on September 19. During the following days' fighting over the area a petrol station went up in flames which allegedly caused many casualties.

Some 70 kilometer (~40 miles) south of that crossing point lies al-Raqqa around which there have already been clashes and which the insurgents want to destroy next. This even while the people in the city, including opposition supporters, are begging thze insurgents not to liberate them (video report):

More than 500,000 people are estimated to have fled to the northern city of al-Raqqa over the year-and-a-half long conflict in Syria.

That influx of internally displaced Syrians has doubled al-Raqqa's population.

Now, as opposition fighters say they plan to take the city from the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, civilians are pleading with the fighters to spare them the violence that would ensue.

It is not known who fired the mortars that landed in Turkey. That might have been Syrian Arab Army troops firing on insurgents. But it also might have been the insurgents from the Free Syrian Army that have an interest in getting Turkey to fight for them.

The Turkish prime minister Erdogan is under a lot of pressure for his support of the insurgency in Syria. The Turkish public opinion is by a large margin against this policy.

It is obvious that the insurgencies supply route for their attack on al-Raqqa is through Tal Abyad and the Turkish town of Akçakale. Those five Turkish people killed there today along that supply line are a direct consequence of Erdogan's material support for the insurgency.

Any further dead in an escalation would be, like the dead today, his direct responsibility.

The Obama administration is just as guilty as Erdogan is. Three bombs the insurgents exploded today in Aleppo killed 34 and injured over 120 people. This only days after Hillary Clinton increased the material support for especially those insurgents in Aleppo. The "non-lethal" radios the U.S. is giving to the insurgents are just as deadly as the bombs those radios trigger.

Posted by b on October 3, 2012 at 17:08 UTC | Permalink


If Turkey invade Syria, it will sink into a quagmire worse than US did in Iraq

Posted by: nik | Oct 3 2012 17:19 utc | 1

They will be in a war with Iraq soon if they are not careful. Turkey definitively supports Kurdish independence in Iraq.

"Experts agree that the central government's power over Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region is limited, adding such a decision will not have any effect on the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq.

“[The Nouri] Maliki government does not have the power to prevent Turkey's operations both militarily and politically. Moreover, the central government's security forces have no effect in northern Iraq. This decision will not have any practical effect. It is a step to strain the relations further. Iraq is just bluffing,” Bilgay Duman, an expert on Iraq from the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), told Today's Zaman."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2012 17:53 utc | 2

Meanwhile in Turkey its leaders seem to be occupied solely with domestic and political matters, not unlike in the U.S. situation. International matters have disappeared from view.
SERKAN DEMİRTAŞ in Hurriyet today

We have welcomed the new political season Monday with the opening of Parliament where President Abdullah Gül openly challenged the ruling party on some very important issues. Gül’s 36-minute speech came only a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s emotional, overenthusiastic address to his party’s convention in which he was elected as chairman for the last time. . .

Prime Minister Erdoğan’s address to his parliamentary group is proof to Gül’s timely warning on the constitution. For the first time, Erdoğan set a deadline for the constitutional commission and implied that his party will walk out if the writing process could not be finalized before the end of this year.

And in Zaman the EU thing is still alive.
The European Union will strongly criticize the lack of progress in reforms in Turkey in a progress report due on Oct. 10, underlining the urgent need for a new constitution to tackle the ossified and recurrent problems of the country. . .Despite some positive developments in terms of civilian-military relations, the draft concludes that “the transparency and accountability of the security sector remained limited.” The EU also criticizes the duality between the civilian and military court systems. “Military judges and prosecutors' independence was limited by the continued authority of military commanders over them,” the draft reads.

Brussels has an interest in Ankara but not in Damascas.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2012 18:11 utc | 3

CBS News
Turkish artillery targets Syria

ISTANBUL The office of Turkey's prime minister says Turkish artillery has fired on Syrian targets after deadly shelling from the Syrian side hit a Turkish border town.

The Turkish statement says the artillery fired "on points in Syria that were detected with radar, in line with the rules of engagement."

The statement also added: "Turkey, within the framework of rules of engagement and international law, the Syrian regime will never gratuitous provocations of this kind will leave to our national security[sic].

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2012 20:34 utc | 4

Don Bacon, there is no Brussels interest. France and Germany have fought tooth and nail not to have Turkey in the European Union (as the US would have wished for strategic geopolitical reasons)As is, Europe is struggling to integrate a large amount of economically and politically diverse countries. Syria is a traditional influence zone of France. They would be part of Sarkozy's Mediterranean Union (like Libya. Turkey and France are competitors in this respect.

Back to the topic - the New York Times cleared it that up now (I am joking)

"The five Turkish civilians — a woman, her three children and a relative — were killed in the town of Akcakale, and their deaths were the first caused by the stray shells that have frequently flown across the border, a Turkish official said. Angry residents of the town marched to the mayor’s office demanding security measures, Turkish NTV reported.

It was unknown whether the mortar fire came from Syrian government forces or rebels fighting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The Turkish response seemed to assume that the Syrian government was responsible.

Atilla Sandikli, the director of the Ankara-based Center for Strategic Studies, said on NTV that Syria was trying to pull Turkey into the conflict, and that the government should react with “utmost care.”

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2012 20:59 utc | 5

Some are still hoping on an 'October' surprise to resurrect the dumb Romney campaign. And as a bonus an open war with Iran because of their mutual defense treaty. Or perhaps it's the other way around?

And the Obama-USgov faction is still promising a 'punishment' on Libya soon.

I doubt anyone at NATO has stomach, at least today and until Obama is back as full-time president, to do more than laughable press releases. Not so sure about the Turk Madmen (supposedly it was a 'democratic' government) and similar crazy factions involved in the area.

Posted by: ThePaper | Oct 3 2012 21:18 utc | 6

re: EU and Turkey -- that's old news. Syria has driven Turkey west, and has made new Turkey fans of France and Germany.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2012 21:20 utc | 7

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister had just warned of this exact scenario only a few days ago, so it seems likely that they caught wind of a provocation being planned.

This is likely to serve as a brake, as they likely have intelligence & are gathering supporting data on what went down, including positional data on where the forces were who carried out the attack. If the Turks try to use this as a pretext, it all comes out.

Gatilov also called for more restraint between Turkey and Syria, following Ankara’s repeated complaints against shells and artilleries that landed on its territory.

“We believe both Syrian and Turkish authorities should exercise maximum restraint in this situation, taking into account the rising number of radicals among the Syrian opposition who can intentionally provoke conflicts on the border.”

Posted by: KenM | Oct 3 2012 21:22 utc | 8

'The Turkish prime minister Erdogan is under a lot of pressure for his support of the insurgency in Syria. The Turkish public opinion is by a large margin against this policy.'

one way to change this is thru a FALSE FLAG FSA version of the Gulf of Tonkin or 9-11.

Posted by: brian | Oct 3 2012 21:43 utc | 9

Syria has driven Turkey west, and has made new Turkey fans of France and Germany.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3, 2012 5:20:02 PM | 7

Syria hasnt driven Turkey anywhere...all we have are temporary allignments as Turkey agrees with Frano-german fascist elites on the war on syria.

Posted by: brian | Oct 3 2012 21:45 utc | 10

'Atilla Sandikli, the director of the Ankara-based Center for Strategic Studies, said on NTV that Syria was trying to pull Turkey into the conflict, and that the government should react with “utmost care.” '

this is not true...this fellow may be in need of new employment...forces are at work to push Turks into the war on syria...but its not syria doing the pushing...

Posted by: brian | Oct 3 2012 21:47 utc | 11

'If Turkey invade Syria, it will sink into a quagmire worse than US did in Iraq

Posted by: nik | Oct 3, 2012 1:19:24 PM | 1

Israels relish...two birds one stone

Posted by: brian | Oct 3 2012 21:48 utc | 12

Part of me is hoping turkey gets into this conflict. This way the focus shifts and I am willing to bet may actually get turkey to rethink its behavior in supporting Fsa.
A few hundred dead soldiers from turkey may actually get the Turkish people to demand a change in policy. I doubt NATO will get involved, I think even NATO by now will want to see endogan gone.

Posted by: ana souri | Oct 3 2012 21:56 utc | 13

No doubt in Hillary's mind about who did it. She's outraged again.

Posted by: dh | Oct 3 2012 22:00 utc | 14

According to news reports this mortar fire into Turkey is not the first such event. Erdogan said that radar was used to fire into Syria indicating counter-battery.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2012 22:35 utc | 15

Since an attack on any NATO member is an attack on all, if it were determined that the FSA lobbed the shells into Turkey, wouldn't that require NATO to go to war against the FSA?

[just joking...or delusional] Any facts will be fixed.

Posted by: JohnH | Oct 3 2012 22:36 utc | 16

I doubt Turkey will invade, even though that is some of the chatter on twitter. It would be too unpopular domestically, they have jailed a lot of there military leadership, they would turn a low intensity conflict with the Kurds into a full on conflict with the Syrian Arab Army, Iran's revolutionary guard would probably get involved and Russia would be even more pissed off.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 3 2012 22:37 utc | 17

@ Somebody 2 Why would the turks support Kurdish independence from Iraq? Seems to me to that would open up problems in eastern Turkey they would like to remain quiet.

Posted by: heath | Oct 3 2012 22:40 utc | 18

Syria has driven Turkey west, and has made new Turkey fans of France and Germany.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3, 2012 5:20:02 PM | 7

not according to the German, Turkish and French press

Has Turkey already abandoned its EU vision?

Europe : une majorité de Français voterait contre Maastricht aujourd'hui
"En outre, une majorité écrasante (84% contre 16%) est hostile à une adhésion de la Turquie à l'UE."

Turkey and the Euro Crisis EU Membership Losing Its Appeal

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2012 22:42 utc | 19

googling around for news articles -- "the German, Turkish and French press" -- to support your anachronistic position notwithstanding, Turkey is now firmly in bed with the West including EU. Turkey has no more friends in the Middle East plus Russia. And Europe needs Turkey for energy transfer -- a preferable alternative to Russia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2012 22:54 utc | 20

@ Somebody 2 Why would the turks support Kurdish independence from Iraq? Seems to me to that would open up problems in eastern Turkey they would like to remain quiet.

Posted by: heath | Oct 3, 2012 6:40:52 PM | 18

The rumor is that Turkey has a deal with Barzani to carve off an Iraqui/Syrian Kurdish independent state from Syria (and leaving Turkish Kurdistan alone) whilst Turkey would be able to reconnect Aleppo province. I cannot see Turkey acting on its own. However, I do not see the US following through on whatever they might have promised. Maybe the US underestimated Russian and Chinese resolve. It is clear that Erdogan miscalculated badly or was pushed into something that is risky for Turkey. Saudi Arabian funding might have played a role.
I am sure Erdogan did not look at this Google map of Kurdistan when he was making decisions.

al Monitor on Turkey dealing directly with Barzani

"Ankara may have no real interest in a fragmented Iraq, but its Iraqi Kurdish ally does. And as the KRG aggressively pursues its national interests in disputed lands, Turkey has become inadvertently implicated. Ankara has not helped the matter by playing off Baghdad and Erbil, feeding into Iraq’s internal power struggles and encouraging Kurdish maximalist behavior. While stating its interest in Iraqi oil imports through the official state pipeline, Turkey is also bartering Kurdish crude for its own refined products and egging on Kurdish discourse of an independent pipeline. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davatoglu’s recent unauthorized visit to Kirkuk has only reinforced suspicions by many Arab Iraqis that Ankara is working with the KRG to undermine Iraq’s territorial integrity."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2012 23:16 utc | 21

Don Bacon | Oct 3, 2012 6:54:05 PM | 20

I am not sure, what you mean. Turkey has been a NATO member since 1952 and it used to be secular since 1923. The AKP's and I guess Gulf States' influence has somewhat reversed the secularism. If anything Turkey is looking more East than it used to. Erdogan invoked Sultan Arp Arslan of a 900 years past Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty and the battle of Manzikert who took Anatolya from the Christian Byzantine Empire in the recent AKP conference.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2012 23:37 utc | 22

So they don't get to claim it was an accident? Or just say oops, or who cares like the USA or the rest of NATO? Well I guess war then...

Posted by: Jose Rios | Oct 4 2012 0:28 utc | 23

The mortar attack appears to have been a false flag op that was aimed at getting NATO involved..

It appears the fsa can't win so time to bring in the big guns...Sad to see the entire region will burn to ashes for someone's stupidity...

Posted by: Zico | Oct 4 2012 1:07 utc | 24

It it was false flag then hurrah for the counter-battery fire. Let the UNSC chew over that.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 4 2012 1:27 utc | 25

A Kurdish state without the Turkish Kurd area would not be viable, because Turkey would still control the Euphrates and Tigris water held in enormous dams in eastern Turkey.

It's not even clear that Iraq is a sustainable entity because the amount of water coming down stream is a now reduced to a trickle.

Meanwhile, Hafez Assad negotiated a deal with Turkey years ago, so Syria does get a share of Euphrates water. Of course, Turkey could always abrogate the deal. If it did it would probably get US support if it was based on humanitarian grounds--the Assad regime being so brutal.

As in the 1990s sanctions on Iraq, it's considered humanitarian to let a half a million people die to dispose of a brutal regime that's oppressing its people (and, just coincidentally, doesn't welcome US oil companies.)

Posted by: JohnH | Oct 4 2012 3:13 utc | 26

It's revealing that the World's First Female Buffoon/armchair redneck, Shrillary, has gone off half-cocked and blamed Assad for the incident, before it has been fully investigated.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 4 2012 3:31 utc | 27

NATO had a discussion and made a statement.

NATO, Oct 3 - "In view of the Syrian regime's recent aggressive acts at NATO's southeastern border, which are a flagrant breach of international law and a clear and present danger to the security of one of its Allies, the North Atlantic Council met today, within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, and discussed the continuous shelling of locations in Turkey adjacent to the Turkish-Syrian border by the Syrian regime forces. In the spirit of indivisibility of security and solidarity deriving from the Washington Treaty, the Alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an Ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law."

And the bear said to shut up.

MOSCOW, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Russia told NATO and world powers on Tuesday they should not seek ways to intervene in the Syrian war or set up buffer zones between rebels and government forces. The statements from Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was one of Moscow's most specific warnings yet to the West and Gulf Arab leaders to keep out of the 18-month-old conflict. "In our contacts with partners in NATO and in the region, we are calling on them not to seek pretexts for carrying out a military scenario or to introduce initiatives such as humanitarian corridors or buffer zones," Gatilov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 4 2012 3:32 utc | 28

Turks on twitter protest against war with syria

Posted by: nikon | Oct 4 2012 4:02 utc | 29

more on the Turkish Kurdish (mis-)calculations from Zaman

Posted by: somebody | Oct 4 2012 5:39 utc | 30

Turkey continues pounding Syrian military sites..Why is that?

It seems this mortar non-attack was the perfect pretext needed for Turkey to military intervene in Syria..

So far, Syria;s response has been mute and weak..I guess Russia must be putting a lot of pressure on Syria not to retaliate..

Posted by: Zico | Oct 4 2012 6:56 utc | 31

My opinion from what I've read so far is, that there is no plan for a real invasion or massive military operation on syrian territory. To me this looks like more or less a media campaign to boost fear and anxiety among the current syrian government and support possible defections. Shaking the tree.
Though, if that wont work out, i can imagine a kind of corridor for turkish operations like anti-kurdish operations that have been carried across international borders ever since.

Posted by: peter radiator | Oct 4 2012 7:00 utc | 32

I have been waiting for this

Israel closes a tourist site on the Golan heights as precautionary measure

"Israelis are concerned that fighting from Syria's civil war could spill across the border. Last month, several mortar shells exploded in Israeli-controlled territory. Nobody was hurt. Israel said the shells were misfired."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 4 2012 7:09 utc | 33

From the latest news it seems Turkey has started to providing (open) support fire to their terrorist invaders in Tal Abyad. And an occupation of the Syrian border area to protect their lovely sectarian killers is very likely if the government request to the parliament to authorize border operations is approved.

So they will ignore Obama's re-election and NATO and just go for the full war option.

Posted by: ThePaper | Oct 4 2012 9:01 utc | 34

more on Turkey's regional politics
Bosnia and Herzegovina is entrusted to Turks, says Erdoğan

dangers of a Kurdish civil war in Syria

Posted by: somebody | Oct 4 2012 11:18 utc | 35

I think that Erdogan dog needs to be put down before it's too late..

Posted by: Zico | Oct 4 2012 11:59 utc | 36

The Turkish people protest against Turkey's war on Syria and on top of that, the Turkish Kurds have started to become a problem for Erdogan. This could be a try from his side to save his own skin by turning the Turkish opinion and turn the international opinion away from what Turkey is doing towards the Kurds just now. A Turkish false flag operation is my guess then.
But this is only my guess, because the Syrian government has no interest at all to start a war against Turkey so if it was a Syrian shelling it must have been a mistake and when Turkey choses to answer as it does, then Turkey really wants to make war on Syria.

Posted by: Kerstin | Oct 4 2012 12:02 utc | 37

It's done. The Turkish government has the legal backing for invading Syria and creating a 'liberated' zone.

Posted by: ThePaper | Oct 4 2012 12:10 utc | 38

Turkey’s parliament has approved a bill authorising the military to conduct cross-border operations in Syria after shelling from Syrian territory killed five civilians.

The Anadolu Agency said MPs today voted in favour of the bill that gives the government authority for one year to send troops or warplanes to strike Syrian targets whenever it deems it necessary.

A senior official has said Turkey has no intention of declaring war but the move adds a dangerous new dimension to a conflict that is pulling Syria’s neighbours deeper into what already resembles a proxy conflict.

Source: Irish Times

So Erdogan has got parliment approval for any strikes inside Syria over the next year. Unlikely he will rush into war, I predict it will be more stumbling into war. He could use this to target Kurdish groups in Syria as opposed to the Syrian government. The thing about this attack is that it gives the rebels an incentive to escalate it. Regardless of who fired the mortar this time, the rebels know if they fire mortars in the future they can provoked Turkey into escalating.

Assad would be smart to play the nationalist card. Nothing unites a nation like the threat of a foreign invasion. Use the Kurds as a proxy and paint the FSA as traitors working with foreign interests to destroy the country.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 4 2012 13:07 utc | 39

@somebody 21, hmmm, That might buy Erdogan a bit of time but like that map suggests the kurds are not going to be happy with a slice of the cake but the whole bakery.

Posted by: heath | Oct 4 2012 13:37 utc | 40

According to news reports this mortar fire into Turkey is not the first such event. - Don

Absolutely. Several have been reported before. Very minor. Likely several others were not reported at all.

Sorry no mainstream news ‘proof’.

The border is a shambles, as far as i can see from news etc. because of the movement of refugees, thousands and more, movement of arms, etc.

Consider, an official border on the extended Europa continent - plus towards the ME - is at best admin. lines that are not of much relevance on the ground, as the borders segue slowly into that or that cultural landscape, those and xyz whatever trade practices.

The border is not concrete walls like in Palestine or geographical barriers like oceans in the USA.

Borders are fluid. Belonging is multiple, scattered.

Millions of ppl live with arbitrary lines and don’t pay attention to them except when confronted with officialdom. The grip of the Nation State is tolerant of the mixing, as they cannot do otherwise.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 5 2012 17:05 utc | 41

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