Photo: Wikipedia Commons
As Turkey and Syria continue to lob ordnance back-and-forth across their shared border for the eighth straight day, news has emerged that Turkey is upping the ante.David Cenciotti at The Aviationist reports that Turkey is sending 25 F-16 fighter jets close to the Syrian border.
As Cenciotti points out the planes are multi-purpose, capable of leading strikes into Syria or running down any Syrian jets getting too close to Turkey.
In addition to the F-16s, Turkey is deploying four F-4 Phantoms very much like the reconnaissance model shot down over Syria in June.
The F-16s are merely the final instalment in a pretty comprehensive defence system that we outlined in a post put up a couple of days ago:
In June, after Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet, Turkey sent a convoy of more than 30 military vehicles carrying missile batteries, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft artillery, anti-aircraft guns, military ambulances as well as troops to the Syrian border. (It’s unclear what variety of weapons the Turks are using, but those links offer examples of each.)
In late September Turkey’s private Dogan news agency reported that a six-vehicle convoy moved three Howitzers and an anti-aircraft gun to the border as shells from Syria began landing in Turkish towns near the border.
A Howitzer is a large gun that fires heavy shells, relatively short distances, at pretty steep angles. Howitzer shells come in many different varieties, but are commonly highly explosive.
Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news agency reports that the military deployed additional tanks and missile defence systems to the Syrian border on Sunday. Last week Turkey’s parliament authorised sending troops across the border.
Bloomberg reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told state-run television on Oct. 6 that the five civilian deaths in a Turkish border town on Oct. 3 were caused by a D30 type, 122mm artillery shell, which is used by the Syrian army. (A Turkish newspaper reported that it was a NATO mortar.)
To give you an idea of what goes into firing these things, here’s the Afghan National Army firing a 122mm Howitzer.
And to provide an idea of what this type of shell can do, here’s a video of U.S. combat engineers destroying a 122 mm artillery round in Iraq—the shrapnel actually hits their Humvee:
A Turkish newspaper Milliyet speculated that Turkish F-16 warplanes may strike Syrian artillery batteries if Syrian shells cause new casualties, according to Bloomberg.
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