Turkey will not be springboard for attack on Syria: diplomat
ANKARA - Agence France- Presse
Turkish gendarmeries block on December 5, 2011 the road leading to a refugee camp after a demonsration near the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province. AFP Photo
Turkey said Wednesday it would not let its territory be used to launch attacks against other countries after Syria said it had foiled a bid by "terrorists" to infiltrate from the Turkish border.
"Turkey is not allowing any armed groups (to launch attacks) against other countries," a Turkish diplomat who declined to be named told AFP, when asked about the Syrian news reports.
Syria's official news agency SANA reported Tuesday that Syrian border guards had the previous night thwarted an attempt by "armed terrorist groups from Turkey" to cross into the country.
The guards had wounded an unspecified number of the 35 gunmen they had intercepted without suffering any casualties on their side, SANA reported.
"Cars were heard taking the wounded gunmen away on the Turkish side," the report added.
"No military activity has been observed on the Syrian side of the border," the Turkish diplomat said.
Turkey is home to around 7,500 refugees who have fled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's deadly crackdown.
It also hosts Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad in one of the camps on the Turkish-Syrian border, who claims to head a group of army defectors called Free Syrian Army.
Asaad, in a recent telephone interview with AFP, called for foreign air strikes on "strategic targets" in Syria to speed up the fall of the regime.
While he did not back foreign troops on the ground there, he called for on the international community to provide the opposition with logistical support, a no-fly zone and a buffer zone.
Turkey has been critical of the Syrian leadership's crackdown. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has even urged his one-time ally Assad to step down.
Relations between the two countries were further strained last month after Turkish diplomatic missions came under attack by pro-government demonstrators in several Syrian cities.
The crackdown in Syria has claimed more than 4,000 lives since mid-March, according to UN figures.