Turkey-Syria line: World’s most dangerous border
Contrary to general perception, the world’s most dangerous border is not the one separating the two Koreas. It’s also not the one between Syria and Israel, although the calmness was broken after 39 years as Israeli forces retaliated in kind against Syrian mortar bombs landing on its territory.
The nearly 900-kilometer-long border between Turkey and Syria is now the world’s most risky frontline, with no single day passing without a dangerous incident. The trend of incidents shows an escalation in violent moves by the Syrian army against the Free Syrian Army which is trying to retain control of land close to the Turkish border. The Syrian army has begun to use its strong aerial forces to hunt the rebels along the border, which raises fear among Turks living immediately over the frontier due to the errant bombings of residential areas.
Turkish aircraft were scrambled Nov. 12 in a bid to warn Syrian aircraft which have been careful to avoid violating Turkish airspace. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Damascus was given a diplomatic note over the incident and vowed that Turkey would retaliate if its airspace was breached. NATO expressed its full support in a message of solidarity as a number of contingency plans addressing Turkey’s potential security needs have already been drafted. Also yesterday, senior Turkish commanders inspected Turkish troops on the border and their readiness, according to the wires.
With the Syrian opposition now achieving unity nearly a year-and-a-half after it rebelled against the Bashar al-Assad regime, one can expect an increase in the armed conflict between the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army as the international community is becoming more generous in providing more aid and assistance to the opposition. Supplying the opposition with heavy weapons, as well as anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, would surely invoke a heavier response from the Syrian army. Considering that the armed conflict is happening just meters from the Turkish border in northern Syria, there could be more provocations to pull Turkish troops into this bloody war.
Despite this worrying escalation in tension along the border, it was interesting that neither the prime minister nor the opposition parties included this issue in their weekly parliamentary addresses. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan preferred to criticize the position of the main oppositional Republican People’s Party (CHP), while the opposition leaders did not make substantial statements or proposals to the government.
As it seems there will be no quick victory for the anti-al-Assad front, the Turkish government and politicians should be more aware that they rule a country whose border with its southern neighbor is a most dangerous one. While taking all security measures to protect the lives of Turks, the government should also be wary against attempts to drag Turkey into the Syrian quagmire.