Turkish, Syrian Forces Seek Downed Turkish Jet
By Jonathon Burch and Erika Solomon/Reuters
“The point of this is to encourage as many factions of the Syrian army to defect and to organize the FSA, control it and prevent any extremist organizations from joining it.”
A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said he was not aware of reports that the kingdom was funding Syrian rebels.
The souring of Syrian-Turkish relations has provoked concern among Turks that Syria may revive its former support for Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) insurgents in southeastern Turkey in retaliation for Turkish backing of Syrian rebels.
“It’s possible the Turks were sending jets in the area in response to an apparent escalation of the PKK’s activities,” Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut, told Reuters.
However, Khashan said he did not expect a harsh military reaction from Turkey. “It is under a tight leash by the United States. They don’t want to start a war tomorrow.”
Inside Syria, opposition activists reported heavy fighting in Deir Ezzor, an oil-producing region bordering Iraq.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent also said one of its volunteers had been killed in the region while on first aid duty on Friday. He had been shot in the head while wearing a uniform clearly marked with the organization’s emblem, it said.
Turkey fears the fighting, much of which pits majority Sunni dissidents and rebels against Assad’s Alawite-dominated security forces, could unleash a flood of refugees over its own border and ignite a regional sectarian conflict.