Continuous Turkish artillery barrage cuts out 10-km buffer strip inside Syria

Thursday, October 4, 2012
By Paul Martin

DEBKAfile
October 4, 2012

Constrained from a substantial military incursion into Syria by US President Barack Obama’s veto and Saudi and Qatari refusals to help pay for it, Turkey’s government and military decided to make do with carving out a buffer strip 10 kilometers deep into Syria by continuous artillery barrages.
Thursday morning, Oct. 4 at 0300 GMT, Ankara ordered the Turkish army to keep up its cross-border shelling of Syria after the first bombardment Wednesday night in response to the deaths of five Turkish civilians and eight injured by Syrian mortar shells which exploded in their village.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report the artillery squads were told to aim primarily at Syrian military targets inside this strip, including bases, outposts and Syrian forces on the move.
Several Syrian bases and outposts have been hit so far and a large number of Syrian soldiers killed or wounded. Neither Ankara nor Damascus is offering information on casualties. They have imposed a heavy blackout on events so as to keep them under control and avoid the risk of a full-blown war.
It was the first time in the 18-month Syrian uprising that Turkey had staged military action against Syria.
The first Turkish barrage was fired as NATO foreign ministers met in emergency session in Brussels and the UN Security Council in New York condemned Syria.

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