Özel visits border posts amid inflaming tension

Özel visits border posts amid inflaming tension

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Özel visits border posts amid inflaming tension

Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel (R) looks over to Syrian lands as he is briefed by a soldier during his inspection of the troops situated on the Turkish-Syrian border. Photo courtesy of General Staff

Chief of General Staff General Necdet Özel, along with Land Forces Commander General Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu, has personally inspected the safety measures along Syrian border at a time when tensions have topped since Oct. 3 when a Syrian shelling killed civilians in Akçakale town of Şanlıurfa province.

The inspection by Özel began on Monday as the two commanders travelled to Adana first in order to inspect troops in the region which is part of the Second Army Command, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said yesterday in a brief statement posted on its Website.

The Second Army is headquartered in the eastern province of Malatya and shoulders the responsibility of securing the nation’s Iraqi and Syrian borders, as well as eastern Turkey.

Same day, commanders went to İskenderun to receive briefing about the level of preparedness to war. Security precautions were at the highest level as the İskenderun 39th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Headquarters was secured by naval, air and land forces at the same time.

As of Tuesday, Özel and his delegation proceeded to Hatay to inspect the units along the Syrian border.
The commander of the 2nd Army, Gen. Galip Mendi, and the commander of the 39th mechanized infantry brigade, Gen. Hakan Atınç, attended to the visits, Hürriyet Daily News learned from reliable sources.

Kilis was another stop during the inspection by General Özel and Kıvrıkoğlu as they visited the Öncüpınar border guard. Özel’s office posted his photos from the guard along with soldiers to the official website of the TSK.

Özel and his team returned to Gaziantep after Kilis visit and they were expected set to visit Akçakale when Hurriyet Daily News went to print.

Turkey has taken additional military precautions against probable bombings from Syria and terrorist attacks launched by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) northern Iraq, the sources said.

High caliber howitzers with long distance range and with high accuracy rate to hit targets, the 155 millimeter “Fırtına”s, are allocated in Syrian border to retaliate Syrian bombs that fall to Turkish territory.

Twenty-five war planes are also allocated to Diyarbakır Military Airport. The planes will be ready to be used for terror operations across the border and to follow the recent developments in Syria, the sources said. They said the planes are F-16 warplanes but declined to give further information.

At the same time many military vehicles have been addressed to Akçakale and Suruç villages of Şanlıurfa province. It is learned from reliable sources that some armored vehicles have been allocated to the border.

Shells on Oct. 3 at Akçakale province sparked Turkish retaliatory fire which has been repeated with every new Syrian shell that lands across the border, as Bashar al-Assad’s regime battles rebel forces.

The incident was the most serious between Damascus and Ankara since Syrian anti-aircraft fire brought down a Turkish fighter jet in June, and renewed fears of a broader conflict.

The Turkish parliament on Oct. 4 gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.
Field Guns with long cannons were sent to Mürşitpınar border guard from Şanlıurfa 20th Armored Brigade Command. Soldiers are also sent to same guard station.

Gen. Özel had made a similar visit to Hakkari province on Sept. 13 to inspect military activities towards PKK terror organization and operations in northern Iraq. Commanders of land and air forces had attended to the visit.

Social experts in Akçakale for aid

ŞANLIURFA - Anatolia News Agency

The Family and Social Policies Ministry has sent a team of 25 experts, including psychologists, sociologist and child development specialists, to Akçakale to provide social and psychological support for citizens.

Under the presidency of Family and Society Service General Director Ömer Bozoğlu, the team held talks with Akçakale governorship officials to get information about the citizens’ situation. “Our specialist will give social and psychological support to families,” Bozoğlu said, adding that it is not clear yet how much time they will spend in the town.