The mainstream American press has trumpeted for days the claim that Turkey is “retaliating” for artillery fire coming from Syrian government forces on the Syrian-Turkish border near the town of Akçakale.
Because Turkey is a member of Nato (for 50 years), a declaration of war by Turkey could well drag Nato into a conflict.
The Turkish people don’t like the turn of events … thousands of Turks took to the the streets in Ankara and Istanbul after Turkey’s parliament approved military operations against targets in Syria following the mortar attacks.
The New York Times concedes:
It was unknown whether the mortar shells were fired by 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.
Many alternative news sources claim that this was a “false flag” attack to justify a Turkish attack on Syria.
Indeed, before the mortar attacks, Russia warned of such a possibility:
Russia expresses its concerns about the tense situation on the Syria-Turkey border and warns both to avoid tension.
Russia has urged restraint between Turkey and Syria so as to avoid possible cross-border conflicts while telling world powers that they should not seek ways to intervene in the Syrian war.
Both Syrian and Turkish authorities “should exercise maximum restraint” since radical members of the Syrian opposition might deliberately provoke cross-border conflicts for their own benefits, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said yesterday. The diplomat said Moscow has been worrying about the situation on the Syria-Turkey border… Turkey has sent a diplomatic note to Syria over the mortar bomb that hit the southeastern province of Akçakale on Sept. 28.
And false flag attacks have been planned to bring about regime change in Syria for 50 years (and the neocons planned regime change in Syria 20 years ago.)
But another possibility is that Syrian army forces were shooting at Syrian rebels near Akçakale and accidentally fired mortar a tad bit too far … across the border into Turkey.
Indeed, Turkey has been sheltering and training Syrian rebels, and Akçakale is a key Syrian rebel supply route, which has seen numerous skirmishes in recent months.
Turkey has also been testing Syrian air defenses by sending its fighter jets into Syrian air space, and has threatened intervention for quite a while.
Moreover, in March, the Brookings Institute called for a multi-front assault on Syria to effect regime change, which includes attacks from Turkey. In its report entitled “Assessing Options for Regime Change”, Brookings argued (page 6):
In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
The bottom line is that we don’t know whether the recent mortar attacks near Akçakale were a false flag attack by the Syrian rebels to justify war by Turkey against the Asad regime or an attempt by Syrian government troops to hit rebels gone too far, and accidentally ending up in Turkey.
One thing is for sure: this incident can’t be taken in a vacuum, especially since a large proportion of the rebel fighters are Al Qaeda.