Ankara deploys military convoy to Syrian border

Ankara has deployed a convoy of about 30 military vehicles, including trucks loaded with missile batteries, to the Syrian border, Turkish state media say.

According to reports by Turkish state media on Thursday, the convoy left the town of Iskenderun in the southern province of Hatay, heading for the Syrian border.

Several military vehicles have also been deployed separately to a military garrison in the border town of Reyhanli in Hatay.

The reports also stated that Ankara was transporting armored vehicles to military installations in the city of Sanliurfa, the capital of the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, close to the Syrian border.

The development comes two days after the Turkish Hurriyet Daily reported on June 26 that Ankara had deployed a “large number of military vehicles to the Syrian border,” including “15 armored tanks, in addition to long-distance guns and other military vehicles.”

On June 22, Syria said its air defense forces shot down a Turkish F-4 Phantom in the Syrian airspace “according to the laws that govern such situations.” The aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told TRT television on June 24, “According to our conclusions, our plane was shot down in international airspace, 13 nautical miles from Syria.”

However, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said in a press conference in Damascus a day later that the Turkish warplane “violated Syrian airspace, and in turn Syrian air defenses fired back and the plane crashed inside Syrian territorial waters.”

On June 26, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would retaliate “with determination” and take the “necessary steps by determining the time, place and method by itself.”

Erdogan made the remarks on the same day when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a meeting of the new government that the country was in a “real situation of war.”

“When one is in a state of war, all our policies and capabilities must be used to secure victory,” Assad stated.

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