Turkey reappoints former defense minister to post

Security sources toldReuters that Turkey has strengthened its border, sending equipment and troops, including a number of special forces, to its border with Syria. It has been partitioned into zones of government and insurgent control since 2012.

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“It is correct that we have taken precautions to protect our border”.

There are unconfirmed reports of a cross-border operation into Syria but military sources say putting boots on Syrian terrain is an unlikely scenario.

“But it’s wrong to expect that Turkey would undertake such a unilateral intervention in the immediate term if there is no such risk”.

On Monday, Turkish armed forces began amassing near the Turkish border city of Sanliurfa, AFP reported.

The Associated Press reported that Syrian government forces mounted heavy air strikes against rebel positions in and around Aleppo on Friday, the day after a major Islamist-led offensive on areas of the city controlled by Assad’s forces.

“Currently many soldiers have been sent to the border region”.

Last month, Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, published a video online which purported to show trucks transporting arms operated by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT). “But these are definitely not preparations to cross the border”, he said, adding there was no plan to enter Syria unilaterally. Sources said Erdogan would approve the appointment immediately.

“There are 4-4.5 million people living there”. “Our people can rest easy”.

“We are continuing to work together to address the threat that poses to both our countries as part of our joint effort”, he said at a reception in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.

The USA State Department said it had no “solid evidence” that Turkey was considering a buffer zone in Syria.

The sound of intense fighting, including explosions, could be heard from the Turkish border town of Kilis late on Thursday, about 50 km (30 miles) north of the Syrian city of Azaz, witnesses said.

He said: “Turkey will not remain indifferent to relations between the PKK and PYD if they become threatening to the country”.

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Syrian state television said that the army had “foiled attempts to infiltrate Aleppo on several fronts, killing more than 100 terrorists” – the regime’s standard term for all rebel groups.

Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu Denies Plans for Imminent Intervention in Syria