Turkey has confirmed its armed forces have struck at Syrian army and Kurdish positions north of Aleppo, well on the Syrian side of its border with Turkey.
The Turks claim they were responding to mortar fire from Syrian army positions against one of their police stations.
While the Kurds may well be fighting Assad the Turks are not taking the attitude that their enemy’s enemy is their friend.
“The PYD Kurdish Democratic Party is attacking Syrian civilians in cooperation with Russia and Syrian regime forces. They attack Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens who don’t think like them. We will help our brothers in Aleppo with all the means at our disposal. We will take those in need but we will never allow Aleppo to be emptied through an ethnic massacre,” said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
As Syrian and Russian offensives take more land back close to the Turkish border the chance of Turkmen casualties which anger Ankara rises. Turkey has already said it is ready to send ground troops into the country.
That would represent a dangerous escalation, as do Saturday’s strikes into Syria. Were Turkish forces to run into, engage, and kill any Russian personnel it is unlikely Moscow would not react strongly, with unpredictable results.
There are reports that 20 Saudi F15s arrived at Turkey Incirlik airbase on Saturday, indicating that the Saudis may be about to intensify their efforts, and from Turkish soil. Ground troops will reportedly follow, and Turkey’s foreign minister said his soliders are ready to fight alongside their Saudi brothers and enter Syria.