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Ankara's Gambit: Do Turkey's Bombardments Signal Intention to Invade Syria?

© AP Photo / Mursel CobanA Syrian Kurdish militia member of YPG patrols near a Turkish army tank as Turks work to build a new Ottoman tomb in the background in Esme village in Aleppo province, Syria. file photo
A Syrian Kurdish militia member of YPG patrols near a Turkish army tank as Turks work to build a new Ottoman tomb in the background in Esme village in Aleppo province, Syria. file photo - Sputnik International
Turkey's shelling of Syrian territory shows that Ankara is trying to find a pretext to instigate a military intervention in Syria, according to Marc Papadopoulos, chief editor of the UK magazine Politics First.

A general view shows damaged buildings. - Sputnik International
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In an interview with RT, Politics First's editor-in-chief Marc Papadopoulos suggested that the Turkish military shelling of Syrian territory indicates that Ankara is searching for a pretext to invade Syria.

The interview came shortly after the Russian Defense Ministry presented a video proof of Syrian civilian areas being shelled from a Turkish border post.

The bombardment could have been caused by a whole array of factors, Papadopoulos said, recalling that over the past few months, the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian air strikes, has rapidly advanced along the Syrian-Turkish border, liberating areas earlier seized by militants from terrorist groups such as Daesh and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front.

According to him, the Turkish government could order the military to bomb areas where units of the Syrian Army and Kurdish People's Protection Units are stationed, in a show of intimidation aimed to prevent the Syrian forces and the Kurds from liberating their own territory.

"The shelling can also be seen as a provocative step by Turkey. Apparently, Ankara is trying to prod the Syrian troops to retaliate in order to find a pretext for a military intervention in Syria," Papadopoulos said.

Damascus has, meanwhile, demanded that Ankara should stop violating the sovereignty of Syria and respect international laws, media reports said.

"The Syrian government sees such actions as a direct violation of international law and a crime against Syrian civilians. The government has demanded an end to violations of Syria's sovereignty and the observation of international laws," RIA Novosti quoted the Syrian authorities' statement as saying.

Backdropped by a Turkish forces armoured personnel carrier, residents walk around after the 24-hour curfew was lifted, in the mostly-Kurdish town of Silopi, in southeastern Turkey, near the border with Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
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To stop such crimes, Damascus intends to urge the international community to exert pressure on the Turkish government, the statement read, adding that Syria reserved the right to respond to similar actions by any means necessary.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, for his part, that the ministry expects an early explanation from NATO, the Pentagon and Turkish Armed Forces on the incident. He recalled in this regard that the US was quick to react to Ankara's allegations that the Russian fighter jet Su-34 had violated Turkish airspace during its operations in Syria.

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