Turkey Boosts Troops at Syria Border

Turkey Boosts Troops at Syria BorderTurkey Boosts Troops at Syria Border

Turkey has deployed additional troops and equipment along part of its border with Syria as fighting north of the city of Aleppo intensifies, security sources said, but Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were no immediate plans for any incursion.

Ankara has mooted the creation of a “secure zone” in Syrian territory due to concerns about Syrian Kurd advances and the presence of Islamic State militants, as well the possibility of a fresh wave of refugees fleeing conflict, Reuters reported.

Security sources and officials in the capital Ankara said the Turkish Army had stepped up security, also sending in special forces, due to the heavy fighting.

"It is correct that we have taken precautions to protect our border. If there is any circumstance across the border that threatens Turkish security, orders to act have been given," Davutoglu told broadcaster Kanal 7.

"No one should have the expectation that Turkey will enter Syria tomorrow or in the near term. But it is wrong to expect that Turkey would undertake such a unilateral intervention in the immediate term if there is no such risk."

A senior Turkish official also said Ankara was uncomfortable with the presence of extremist militants there and the prospect of Kurdish forces controlling the whole border.

Another Turkish official said there was concern about the possibility of a wave of some one million more migrants heading for Turkey as a result of clashes in Syria.

"A secure zone is needed on the Syrian side for this reason. We are discussing this with our partners," the official said, on condition of anonymity.

Intense fighting, including explosions, could be heard from the Turkish border town of Kilis late on Thursday, about 50 km north of the Syrian city of Azaz, witnesses said. They said the situation was quiet on Friday morning.

Meanwhile on Friday, Syrian government forces mounted heavy airstrikes against rebel positions in and around Aleppo, the focus of an insurgent offensive aimed at capturing areas controlled by President Bashar al-Assad.