Turkey Strikes al-Qaeda Convoy in Northern Syria

'Retaliation' for Cross-Border Shell

The Turkish military has confirmed an attack on a convoy belonging to fighters from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in northern Syria, saying they destroyed three vehicles in the strike.

Once a backer of rebels in general in Syria, Turkey has rarely fired across the border since the region was taken over by rebel factions, but decided to in this case because a mortar shell fired by AQI landed in Turkish territory.

The shell was likely a mistake, as officials say it was fired during a battle between AQI and rival rebels the Free Syrian Army (FSA), but Turkish military vehicles also took some light arms fire in the area. Details of where along the long border between Turkey and Syria the incident took place is unclear, and there have been no reports on casualty numbers.

Turkey’s initially hardline pro-rebel stance has been reportedly undergoing a significant rethink in recent weeks, as they have come to realize that al-Qaeda domination of their southern border crossings are not in their best interest either, and the declaration of autonomy by Syrian Kurdistan has fueled even more tensions along the border.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.