– Exclusive: Turkish military pounds Syrian army bases near border (ALALAM, March 25, 2014):
Turkish military tanks have targeted Syrian army bases in the Kasab border town, where the Syrian army has been battling numerous militant groups to secure the border.
According to Al-Alam reporter in Syria’s Latakia, a huge explosion was heard at a Syrian army base near Kasab after Turkish military targeted the area.
The explosion has been followed with Turkish military firing several other rockets at Syrian army bases, the reporter said citing military sources.
The report said, Al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra front have raised their flags over several Turkish military tanks near Kasab, as a sign of having the area under their control.
Syria has been criticizing Turkey for ‘covering for’ militant groups and helping them occupy the Syrian border.
On Sunday, Turkish military shot down a Syrian fighter jet at the Syrian side of the common borders with Turkey, as it was engaged in fighting with extremist foreign-backed militants.
Kasab and its surrounding villages are Armenian Christian-dominated areas, and their value is primarily because of their location near the Turkish border.
Having the town in their control, militant factions not only are able to smuggle in arms for themselves, but are able to demand a cut when other factions use those crossings.
– Turkey shoots down Syrian army jet inside Syria (ALALAM, March 23, 2014):
Turkey’s army has shot down a Syrian plane, claiming that it crossed Turkish airspace, at a volatile border region where Syrian army has been engaged in heavy clashes with extremist militant groups.
The Syrian army says the plane was inside Syria when it was targeted, blaming Turkey for its “blatant aggression” which interrupted Syrian army operation in defeating militant forces.
The pro-opposition UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said initial reports from the area said the plane came down on the Syrian side of the border.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election rally of his supporters that “A Syrian plane violated our airspace.”
“Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard,” Erdogan, whose government has been one of the open supporters of the dedly insurgency is Syria, said.
Raging conflict has been going on since Friday over Kasab border crossing on Tureky-Syria border, between militants mainly from al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and the Syrian army.
Syrian government says the battle is directly charged by Turkey as a large number of militants easily pass through its borders while there are also charged with fresh supplies with no preventions from the Turkish side.
Syria said Turkish air defenses shot down the jet while it was attacking militants inside Syrian territory, calling the move a “blatant aggression”.
State television quoted a military source as saying the pilot managed to eject from the plane.
Lebanese Al Manar TV said two rockets had been fired from Turkish territory at the Syrian jet.