A NATO reconnaissance team is expected to survey the Turkish-Syrian border on Tuesday to prepare for the possible deployment of Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries along the frontier.
Turkey has turned against its former ally, asking its fellow NATO members last week for Patriot missiles to bolster its air defenses because of several Turkish deaths blamed on Syrian forces.
A delegation of Turkish and NATO officials is scheduled to begin a site survey Tuesday to determine where to deploy the batteries, the Turkish military said Monday.FULL STORY
From Ivan Watson
In a potential escalation of the Syrian conflict, Turkey asked NATO on Wednesday for Patriot missiles to bolster its air defenses against its southern neighbor.
A letter to NATO included the "formal request" that the alliance send "air defense elements," according to a Turkish government statement that cited "the threats and risks posed by the continuing crisis in Syria to our national security."
The statement added that the NATO Council would convene "shortly" to consider the matter.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a Twitter post that the request would be considered without delay.
In a statement on Wednesday, Rasmussen said the letter from Turkey requested Patriot missiles that would "contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO's south-eastern border" and serve as "a concrete demonstration of alliance solidarity and resolve."
Rasmussen's statement said three NATO countries have available Patriot missiles - Germany, the Netherlands and the United States - and it would be up to them to decide if they can deploy them and for how long.
After days of Syrian projectiles falling across the border into Turkey, tensions - and carnage - are mounting on both sides of the border.
The stray shelling has prompted Turkey to respond with threats and weapons fire, fueling concerns that the Syrian civil war will bleed into a greater regional battle.
Here are the latest developments in the 19-month Syrian crisis.FULL STORY
By Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt:
Two Tunisians are being questioned in Turkey at the request of U.S. authorities as possible suspects in the terrorist attack that killed four Americans at the U.S consulate in Benghazi, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation. The Tunisians were on a watch list provided by the U.S. to Turkish authorities and entered the country this week, the source says.
The FBI has not had access to the Tunisians yet, according to the source, but “that’s the hope.” The source was unable to confirm whether the suspects entered Turkey using fake passports, as has been reported by Turkish media.
By Ivan Watson, CNN
Turkey fired on Syrian government targets in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town in which five civilians were killed Wednesday, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office.
The town of Akcakale "was hit by artillery fire belonging to the Syrian regime forces," a statement from Erdogan's office said, in the first clear assertion of blame for the shelling.FULL STORY
By Ivan Watson and Saad Abedine, CNN
Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) - Turkey was shelling Syrian military sites near its border early Thursday, according to the opposition, even as the Turkish parliament was to convene an emergency session to consider granting authority to preemptively strike its neighbor.
The opposition claims follows news Wednesday that Turkey fired on Syrian government targets in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town.FULL STORY
By Chris Lawrence
Turkey fired on targets in Syria in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town in which five civilians were killed Wednesday, a statement from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said.
A senior defense official says the Pentagon is watching the cross-border attacks between Syria and Turkey with some degree of concern, “but at this point, there’s nothing to suggest it’s going to become a broader conflict.”
The official says Pentagon officials have been closely watching what’s happening between the two nations, but at this point have not initiated any further military-to-military contact with their Turkish allies in response to this issue.
The official says this doesn’t look to be large-scale aerial bombardment, but rather a smaller-scale border skirmish.
“We think this is Turkey basically saying ‘Don’t mess with us. Whatever is going on inside Syria, don’t mess with us,” the official said.
The official says both nations would have an interest in not allowing the conflict to escalate.
By Ivan Watson
ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday the United States would start to develop contingency plans with its Turkish allies in the event that the embattled Syrian regime collapses.
Her announcement in Istanbul came 17 months into an escalating crisis that has claimed more than 17,000 lives and forced an estimated 150,000 refugees to flee into neighboring nations, including Turkey, which is hosting 50,000 people.
"There is a very clear understanding about the need to end this conflict quickly, but not doing it in a way that produces even more deaths, injuries and destruction," Clinton said after talks with her Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
By Barbara Starr
The US is prepared to offer Turkey help in locating the undersea wreckage of its jet shot down by Syria last week according to a senior US official. “We are prepared to assist in the search and recovery of the downed wreckage,” the official said.
Turkey still must make an official request for assistance. But the official also noted there is a security complication. Because the aircraft is believed to be in international waters but quite close to Syrian waters, the US wants some assurances from Syria it will not fire on, or attack the recovery effort. It's likely that overture to Syria for security assurances would be made by Turkey or a third party the official said.
He also strongly suggested any recovery would likely be carried out by a commercial salvage operation rather than US military assets. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Turkey is changing its military rules of engagement and will now treat any military approach from Syria as a threat, CNN's Ivan Watson reports from Istanbul. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement Tuesday in a significant escalation of rhetoric after Syria shot down a Turkish plane last week.
"The engagement rules for the Turkish armed forces have been changed from Syria if there are any military instruments or troops approach to the Turkish borders from the Syrian side in the form of a threat they will be perceived as military threats and will be acted accordingly from now on," Erdogan said.
Erdogan criticized Syria harshly on Tuesday saying: "Even if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack."
"It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still it was shot down," Erdogan said, arguing that Syrians should be ashamed of the attack.
NATO condemned it "in the strongest terms," Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after the alliance met Tuesday at Turkey's request.