Rules of engagement still valid: Minister

Rules of engagement still valid: Minister

Rules of engagement still valid: Minister

Ceylanpınar residents walk after a Syrian aircraft bombed Ras al-Ayn. AFP photo

Turkish Defense Minister announced country’s rules of engagement are still in effect as a Syrian warplane bombed the rebel-held town of Ras al-Ayn near the Turkish border for a third day yesterday.

Turkey’s rules of engagement, which changed after Syria shot down a Turkish plane in June, are still valid, the defense minister said yesterday.

Instant response

“We’ll respond as necessary to Syrian warplanes and helicopters violating our borders. Troops [on the border] are authorized [to provide an] instant response,” İsmet Yılmaz told reporters in response to allegations that Turkey was not applying its new rules of engagement regarding Syrian helicopters and planes that recently bombarded a town near the Turkish border. Citing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s change in the military rules of engagement after the Turkish plane was shot down on June 22, Yılmaz said, “There has been no new change since then.”

Although Turkish officials did not publicly announce details of the revised rules of engagement, Turkish forces will reportedly fire on any Syrian forces approaching within five kilometers of the Turkish border on the Syrian side.

Yılmaz’s comments came as Syrian troops used aircraft and artillery to dislodge rebels from a town next to the border with Turkey. A Syrian warplane roared along the frontier and struck twice before circling and bombing again, rocking buildings in Ceylanpınar and sending up huge plumes of smoke over Ras al-Ayn. Local officials said as many as 30 people have died since Nov. 12.