Turkey's Escalating Retaliation vs. Syria Is Potential "Guns of August"
October 9, 2012 • 9:05AM

"I fear the Guns of August" will be the result of the Turkey-Syria border fighting, a senior retired U.S. military source told EIR Monday. The Turkey-Syria fighting has escalated every day for the last six days with Turkey's parliament approving an invasion of Syria, Turkish military firing at Syrian government forces across the border, and Turkey sending tanks and artillery reinforcements to the Syrian border. This retired military official is convinced that the Free Syrian Army staged the intial mortar attack into Turkey as a "false flag" incident to provoke Turkish retaliation. He warned that he fears the border conflict could erupt into a larger war that would draw in the United States, Russia and China.

On October 5, the Turkish government obtained approval from its parliament for military operations across the Syrian border, and with continued incidents of shelling that is coming from the Syrian side as the Syrian government fights the well-armed rebels, the danger of war is increasing by the hour.

A second U.S. intelligence source told EIR yesterday that the situation on the Turkey-Syria border is "precarious." He reported that he expected Turkey to continue to fire mortars into Syrian territory, in order to force Syrian forces back from the border area. The message that Turkey would continue to fire at Syria was also conveyed to the Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who was in Turkey over the weekend, to further pressure Syria to pull back from the border zone. Russia is worried that Turkey is going to use the cross-border shellings to justify creation of a safe zone inside Syrian territory, the source said, and that this could escalate the crisis.

The international press has catalogued the war-statements coming from Turkey on a daily basis:

*On Sunday, Oct. 7, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to Anatolia news agency, "You have to be ready as if you were going to war anytime ... If needed, if such a thing happens, if you are persecuted, then you will do whatever is necessary."

*Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told state-run TRT television on Oct. 6 that the Turkish threat to enter Syria was "a necessary warning to the Syrian administration to prevent a war." He also asserted that "only the Syrian military" possessed the D30 type 122mm artillery shell that caused the deaths in the border town of Akcakale on Oct. 3. [An unbelievable assertion considering the many boasts by the Turkey-hosted/Saudi financed Free Syrian Army that its forces have seized a multitude of Syrian army hardware!]

Accordingly, with its leaders already at war verbally, Turkey deployed additional tanks and missile defense systems to the Syrian border as artillery units responded to "errant" shells that landed on the Turkish side of the border on Oct. 8.

On Oct. 8, the German press outlet Deutsche Welle published a strong article entitled "Turkish Foreign Policy Takes a Dangerous Turn," that warns that in "abandoning its 'soft power' strategy and adopting a 'military deterrence' policy, Turkey risks war with Syria, deeper tension with Iraq, Iran and Russia."

The article says that Erdogan has warned "that Ankara would not shy away from." "'We are not war-lovers, but we are not far from war either.... The saying goes: Prepare for war if you wish for peace,'" Ergodan said.

Throughout Monday, Turkish batteries were firing into Syrian territory, according to Al Arabiya television. At the same time, there were ongoing meetings of the Turkish cabinet about the crisis, and convoys of military vehicles towing howitzers headed toward several border towns, reoprted Anatolia.