Turkey Warns Syria It May ‘Respond With Greater Force’

A week of cross-border skirmishes is making Turkey seem eager for a fight, but NATO still urges calm

by John Glaser, October 10, 2012

After a week of exchanging cross-border attacks with Syria, Turkey on Wednesday warned that it may respond even more forcefully than it already has.

“We responded, but if it continues we will respond with greater force,” the Turkish chief of staff, Gen. Necdet Ozel said, according to Reuters.

Last week, shelling from Syria landed in a Turkish town and killed 5 civilians. Turkey immediately responded with returning artillery fire. But after Damascus said it would investigate the initial shelling, Ankara just kept on firing across the border, seemingly eager for a fight.

For much of the mortar fire coming into Turkey from Syria, according to the New York Times, “It has not been clear whether the Syrian mortar is deliberate or the result of inaccurate fire in clashes between government forces and rebels seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.”

Still, Turkey has kept up its “retaliation.” NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday that NATO would back Turkey in case of a more substantial break-out of war. But at the same time he urged the two sides to avoid escalation, in a sign of the West’s remaining unease with getting involved in anything more than a proxy war in Syria.

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