And the Bear will come down from the North...
Reports: Syria, under Russian guidance, interrogated and murdered Turkish pilots
In June, after Syria allegedly shot down a Turkish warplane in a missile attack, Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the Syrian action an "act of war," and invoked Article 4 of the Nato charter, which calls for consultations with other Nato members after one Nato member has been attacked, since an attack on one member nation is considered to be an attack on all. At the time, Syria's president Bashar al-Assad apologized for the "unintentional" incident.
Leaked documents on Sunday now reveal that the two pilots in the downed warplane were rescued by Syria, in coordination with the Russians. According to one document: "Two Turkish pilots were captured by the Syrian Air Force Intelligence after their jet was shot down in coordination with the Russian naval base in Tartus."
According to the documents, the pilots were interrogated to determine Turkey's actions in support of the Syrian opposition. Al-Assad had then wanted to turn them over to the Hizbollah terrorist group in Lebanon, but the Russians stopped them:
Based on information and guidance from the Russian leadership comes a need to eliminate the two Turkish pilots detained by the Special Operations Unit in a natural way and their bodies need to be returned to the crash site in international waters.
After the pilots were murdered and dumped, the Russians told al-Assad to apologize to the Turks for downing the plane, and he did.
If this story is confirmed, then it will be much more an embarrassment to Turkey than to Syria. The Syrians and the Russians don't really care what the Turks think, because they know that Erdogan will talk and shout, but there won't be any action. For over 18 months, Erdogan and the rest of the West, as well as the United Nations, have issued the same statement over and over: "The violence is terrible, and it MUST stop now." This is particularly a problem for Erdogan, since Turkey is playing host to some 90,000 Syrians in refugee camps near the Syrian border. Erdogan does not want to take military action against Syria, but his political opposition is questioning his leadership. Al-Arabiya and Haaretz and Hurriyet (Ankara)
Turkey deploys armored vehicles to Syrian border
On Friday, prior to the disclosure of the leaked documents, a Syrian mortar barrage landed in the downtown of a Turkish city on the border with Syria, damaging homes and workplaces. The barrage came from inside Syria, where Syrian troops and opposition forces have been fighting.
Turkey has deployed dozens of armored vehicles to the region near the Syrian border and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu threatened military action: "I would like the public to know that if such breaches towards our borders continue we are reserving our rights and we are exercising our rights."
If I'm not mistaken, Davutoglu has issued exactly the same statement dozens of times in the last 18 months. Zaman (Istanbul)