A view of a Syrian refugee camp in the Yayladagi district of the Turkish city of Hatay, on June 8, 2011
A view of a Syrian refugee camp in the Yayladagi district of the Turkish city of Hatay, two kilometers from the Syrian border, on June 8, 2011. Turkey has beefed up a military presence along its southern border with Syria in anticipation of strikes on the regime in Damascus, local media reported Thursday. © Mustafa Ozer - AFP/File
A view of a Syrian refugee camp in the Yayladagi district of the Turkish city of Hatay, on June 8, 2011
AFP
Last updated: September 5, 2013

Turkey beefs up military presence on Syria border

Turkey has beefed up a military presence along its southern border with Syria in anticipation of strikes on the regime in Damascus, local media reported Thursday.

A 20-vehicle convoy with a tank contingent was deployed to the border area of Yayladagi in Hatay province on Wednesday, and was followed by 15 more vehicles Thursday, Turkish news agency Dogan reported.

Syria's northwestern border with Turkey is one of the few areas on the frontier still in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad, according to the agency.

The move is just the latest in a series of reinforcements deployed by the Turkish army to the 900-km (560-mile) long border with the war-torn country.

State-run news agency Anatolia said an already enlarged troop presence on the southern border would also be reinforced.

Tanks and heavy artillery were moved to the border in early 2012, a few months into the conflict, and NATO Patriot missiles have also been deployed to the area, which would be used in the event of a green light for strikes.

Turkey, a NATO member that broke off a previously warm relationship with Syria, is home to more than 500,000 Syrian refugees who have fled a civil conflict that is now well into its third year.

Ankara supports a multilateral intervention against the country after an August 21 chemical attack near Damascus that left hundreds dead, which the West has accused Assad's regime of perpetrating.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Tuesday that his country would support any coalition willing to intervene against the Syrian regime.

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