Monday, July 02, 2012

Diplomacy Falls Apart As Syrian Civil War Continues

Hundreds of people have been killed in the past week as the Syrian military loyal to Bashar al-Assad continues its assault against rebel strongholds across the country, which brings the overall tally to more than 16,500. Nearly 70% of the total are civilians. There's even video showing a funeral procession coming under attack, though no one knows who was behind a deadly bombing in Damascus. Victims were buried in a mass grave.

That follows a series of brazen attacks against the government's facilities in and around Damascus that showed just how vulnerable the regime's power has become.

Today, there are reports that Assad's resorted to using helicopters to bombard rebel strongholds. It was those helicopter raids, particularly close to the border with Turkey that sent the Turkish air force to scramble fighter jets towards the border on three separate occasions in the past 24 hours.
Turkey scrambled six F-16 fighter jets in three separate incidents responding to Syrian military helicopters approaching the border on Sunday, its armed forces command said on Monday.

It was the second time in as many days Turkish jets were launched in response to Syrian helicopters flying near the border and comes after a Turkish reconnaissance plane was shot down by Syria late last month.

The jets took off from Incirlik air base in southern Turkey after Syrian helicopters were spotted flying south of the Turkish province of Hatay, the chief of general staff said on the military's website.

Two helicopters had come within 2.5 miles and one had come within 2 miles of the border, it said. Two of the helicopters were MI-8 type aircraft and one was an MI-17, all Russian-built transport helicopters.

On Sunday, Turkey said it had scrambled six F-16s near its border with Syria after similar transport helicopters were spotted flying either within 4 miles of the border or "close" to the border.
Turkey has repeatedly warned Syria that force will be met with force if Syria sends troops or aircraft towards the border following Syria shooting down a Turkey F-4 jet over the Mediterranean Sea.

Syria continues mucking around along its border with Lebanon as well. The Chinese, via the United Nations, are calling on Syria to stop messing around with the border with Lebanon following a series of incursions by the Syrian military to go after the rebel forces in the border region.

Russia has once again sided with Assad to thwart any kind of diplomatic solution, though rebel groups are opposed to allowing Assad to participate in any kind of transitional government since that would likely mean that Assad would be able to game the system to his favor and remain in power.

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