Turkey, Syria exchange fire for 5th day
AKCAKALE, Turkey — Turkey and Syria fired artillery and mortars across their volatile border for a fifth consecutive day on Sunday in one of the most serious and prolonged flare-ups of violence along the frontier.
The exchange of fire stoked fears that Syria's civil war will escalate into a regional conflagration drawing in NATO member Turkey, once an ally of President Bashar Assad but now a key supporter of the rebels fighting to topple him.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had warned on Saturday that Ankara would respond forcefully to each errant Syrian shell that lands on Turkish soil.
Ankara's warning was coupled by an apparent diplomatic push by the Turkish leadership to promote Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa as a possible figure to head a transitional administration to end the conflict in the country.
In an interview with Turkish state television TRT Saturday, Davutoglu said that al-Sharaa was a figure “whose hands are not contaminated in blood” and therefore acceptable to Syrian opposition groups.
It was not clear whether the Turkish stance was coordinated with other allies, but the candid remarks by Davutoglu suggested some consensus might be emerging over a future role for him.
Al-Sharaa, 73, a close associate and longtime loyalist to the Assad family, has been a controversial figure since the start of the uprising.
He appeared in public in late August for the first time in weeks, ending repeated rumors that he had defected. The regime has suffered a string of prominent defections in recent months, though Assad's inner circle and military have largely kept their cohesive stance behind him.
Early on in the uprising, the Syrian president delegated to al-Sharaa, a skilled diplomat, responsibility for holding a dialogue with the opposition. A Sunni from the southern town of Daraa, birthplace of the Syrian uprising, al-Sharaa's silence since the start of the uprising made him a prime candidate for rumors that he broke with the regime.
“No one knows the system better than Farouk al-Sharaa,” said Davutoglu, adding that al-Sharaa has not been involved in the violence and massacres in Syria.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reversing the field: Pirates continue to raid Yankees for hidden skill
- Injuries to Penguins’ Ehrhoff, Letang force defense to pick up slack
- Former Pa. Gov. Corbett: From pension critic to collector
- McKeesport man: My ex-girlfriend ‘attempted to run me over’; she says he hit her and she panicked
- Pirates notebook: Locke the choice to be 5th starter
- Five is enough for Penguins’ defensemen
- Responsibility for sinkhole near Glassport remains uncertain
- Owner of Penn Hills tombstone business pleads guilty to swindling the bereaved out of $90K
- Mother of Kiski student files lawsuit against bus company, driver
- Steelers’ Tomlin, Pirates’ Hurdle share similar philosophy
- GOP succeeding at down-ballot level