Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s President, has threatened Russia by saying it will not idly watch as it builds up on its border with Syria.
“We have said this from the beginning: we won’t tolerate such formations (in northern Syria) along the area stretching from the Iraqi border up to the Mediterranean,” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
“We maintain our sensitivities on this issue,” added Erdogan, citing reports that Russia had deployed some 200 soldiers to Qamishli and stating that he would raise the issue Saturday in talks with visiting US Vice President Joe Biden.
Qamishl is a predominately Kurdish town but also known as the center of Syria’s Assyrian community. It is located on Turkey border in Hasakah province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that Russia has sent engineers to the town in the hope to begin using a nearby airport
“I can say that Turkey is closely watching every military movement on its borders and especially the border with Syria,” the government source told AFP, asking not to be named.
The Turkish army has already reinforced security by digging trenches in the border zone, the Hurriyet daily reported.