US General: Not Sure Who Is Firing Syrian Shells Into Turkey

NATO's Public Lashing of Syria for Shells Not Backed by Actual Evidence

Despite NATO repeatedly and loudly condemning Syria for shells straying into Turkish territory, and threatening to defend Turkey militarily from its smaller, war-torn neighbor, there’s no good evidence who was shooting those shells in the first place.

That’s the report from US Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who in an interview today said that “we are not sure if these shells are from the Syrian army, from rebels who want to get Turkey involved in the issue or from the PKK.”

Any of those is possible, as many of the rebels are openly backed by Turkey and would love nothing more than to see Turkey, and by extension NATO, invading to install them as the new regime. The PKK, of course, is eager to attack Turkey any chance they get, and are increasingly involved in Syria’s war.

Not that any of this was considered when NATO was railing against Syria for shells hitting Akackale, insisting at the time that it was the government’s fault and discussing possible retaliation even as Turkey was launching air strikes.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.