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Is Turkey preparing to open a Military front against Al-Assad

This is a discussion on Is Turkey preparing to open a Military front against Al-Assad within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by the concerned Just wondering they've also crossed over the Lebanese border couldn't the UN force that was ...


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Old October 6th, 2012   #16
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Just wondering they've also crossed over the Lebanese border couldn't the UN force that was put there to seperate Israel and Hizbollah be deployed to the Syrian border to prevent these violations aswell.
Not without a vote in the Security Council. Those forces are strictly for observing the actions of the 2 sides, and are not permitted to physically intervene. France, and probably the UK and USA, would insist on language allowing armed response to attacks upon them, China and Russia would veto any such measure, resulting in a deadlock. Lebanon is certain to object to a loss of protection from Israeli raids, and Israel would probably object to the area being left open to Hezholah, which is allied with Syria.

So – No.
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Old October 6th, 2012   #17
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Not without a vote in the Security Council. Those forces are strictly for observing the actions of the 2 sides, and are not permitted to physically intervene. France, and probably the UK and USA, would insist on language allowing armed response to attacks upon them, China and Russia would veto any such measure, resulting in a deadlock. Lebanon is certain to object to a loss of protection from Israeli raids, and Israel would probably object to the area being left open to Hezholah, which is allied with Syria.

So – No.
True, on the other hand mister Erdocan (Or what is his name) has warned Syria multiple times and because its Turkey's backyard it is of strategic and economic interest to see things in Syria calm down.

However what i wonder about is the fact that some said this might be a red flag thing, initiated by Syrian forces, but what if the rebels did try to draw Turkey into the fight? I mean Turkey has a rather modern and big army and they would be perfectly capable of bringing Assad down.

So from a rebel point of view Turkey would be most welcome to "defend" themselfs and destroy as much Assad troops as needed, which would GREATLY aid the Rebel forces in their cause.

So far Assad is using every trick in the book up to horror tactics to subdue the rebels.
But at the same time Assad should know that if Turkey is going to join the fight (For whatever reason) that he is in REALLY serious trouble.
I mean Turkey has enough trouble already and their army is perhaps not on par with other EU members, however compared to Assad its forces Turkey is as we call it a bridge to far for Assad.

And the Rebels know this and i can see them using this to draw Turkey into the fight.
Which directly means = game over Assad.
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Old October 6th, 2012   #18
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Not without a vote in the Security Council. Those forces are strictly for observing the actions of the 2 sides, and are not permitted to physically intervene. France, and probably the UK and USA, would insist on language allowing armed response to attacks upon them, China and Russia would veto any such measure, resulting in a deadlock. Lebanon is certain to object to a loss of protection from Israeli raids, and Israel would probably object to the area being left open to Hezholah, which is allied with Syria.

So – No.
* Btw the vote of the UN/Security Council is the legal way to deal with this, and one could say that this vote actually saves Assad to some degree.
But ill bet my black socks that IF Syrian forces would take the fight to far over the border (Either willing or pushed by stupidity or even due a rebel setup)
That Turkey will listen to the UN council to deal with this the legal way, knowing that the UN will support them.
On the other hand Turkey has the ability and internal laws in place to strike on Syria in full force if it feels that it must defend national interest and to protect its civilians.
So my point here Turkey is deffo going to play ball in cooperation with the UN/NATO.
But if casualties keep mounting on their side of the border then they will act with or without UN/NATO support.

Turkey authorized cross-border incursions into Syria when "necessary"
And that gives them the legal ground to basically crack down on Syrian/Rebel forces on Syrian soil and this could be a very dangerous situation for Assad, given the fact that if his forces keep killing Turkey civilians (Willingly or unwillingly) Turkey can and will respond in ways that can bring down Assad or at least seriously cripple him.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #19
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Actually in modern warfare Nation needs the majority backing of its populace to back the war. In the case of Turkey most of the people might be Sympathetic to Syrian opposition but are very much hesitant to go into all-out war against Bashar Al-Assad's forces. In my view this whole shelling issue is to create a public anger in the masses for war support (i am not discussing the ethics or morality of war).

The second and equally important point is the role of Moscow if & when all-out war invoked by Turkey alone. Here Turkey needs full military backing (not the mare words of alliance & partnership) of NATO to counter Russians. My analysis based on the current situation pronounces that the whole ongoing exercise is enforced to create a platform after November 6 operation against Bashar Al-Assad.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #20
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* Btw the vote of the UN/Security Council is the legal way to deal with this, and one could say that this vote actually saves Assad to some degree.
But ill bet my black socks that IF Syrian forces would take the fight to far over the border (Either willing or pushed by stupidity or even due a rebel setup)
That Turkey will listen to the UN council to deal with this the legal way, knowing that the UN will support them.
On the other hand Turkey has the ability and internal laws in place to strike on Syria in full force if it feels that it must defend national interest and to protect its civilians.
So my point here Turkey is deffo going to play ball in cooperation with the UN/NATO.
But if casualties keep mounting on their side of the border then they will act with or without UN/NATO support.

Turkey authorized cross-border incursions into Syria when "necessary"
And that gives them the legal ground to basically crack down on Syrian/Rebel forces on Syrian soil and this could be a very dangerous situation for Assad, given the fact that if his forces keep killing Turkey civilians (Willingly or unwillingly) Turkey can and will respond in ways that can bring down Assad or at least seriously cripple him.
The vote of the UN Security Council would only needed to re-task the UN observers on the Israel-Lebanon border. The UN Security Council would have little relevance to Turkey’s response to a Syrian attack on them, that would come under self defense, which is allowed under the UN charter.

Turkey has the capabilities to swing the battle against Assad, but potentially at the price of a considerable number loss of aircraft (as demonstrated by the F-4 shot down). The other NATO powers can supply the additional capacity for SEAD missions to suppress the air defenses and minimize these losses, but is likely to be perceived as a Libya type intervention by the western powers, which the Arab states wish to avoid.

A ground invasion by Turkey poses a major problem because all the nations in the area remember that Turkey ruled them as part of the Ottoman Empire less than a century ago, and have no desire to see it revived, and which some vocal Turkish politicians advocate. A general invasion of Syria by Turkey has the potential to unite the various armed groups against the Turks, and possibly even ally them to Assad. A more limited campaign to establish a no-fly zone in northern Syria would not have that problem.

There is also the covert war between the elected government and the generals that has left Turkey with a politically chosen military leadership and reduced moral. If Turkey intervenes without western support and suffers heavy losses, the backlash could result in a military coup and suppression of the religious parties, again.

Another major factor to consider about Turkish decision making is that Prime Minister Erdogan over the last few years put a lot of diplomatic effort into strengthening ties with the Muslim world, including demonizing the western powers (including NATO allies) and Israel, and making major friendship deals with Syria and Iran, in an effort curry favor with the religious parties at home. Now he finds himself in a situation where Syria and Iran are the bad guys, but effective intervention is only possible with the assistance of the rest of NATO, which will not sit well with his religious support in upcoming elections. Like any politician in this position he will be tempted to do nothing in hopes of being saved by changing circumstances.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #21
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The second and equally important point is the role of Moscow if & when all-out war invoked by Turkey alone. Here Turkey needs full military backing (not the mare words of alliance & partnership) of NATO to counter Russians.
All out war by Turkey on the Assad regime in Syria would be counterproductive, especially as it would almost certain to be perceived by the Syrian population as an attempt to revive the Turkish Ottoman Empire. That would result in a 3 way war between Turkey, the rebels, and the Assad regime.

Russia does not have an effective means of intervening militarily in the event of Turkey taking any actions. Assuming no direct support for Turkey by NATO:
  • Any attack by Russia on Turkey would result in the immediate loss of the access between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea for Russian shipping and goods. This would have dramatic impact on the Russian economy, and the loss of oil exports would be compounded by Europe shifting its long term energy focus from Russia to Africa as a result.
  • The only land routes to Turkey go through Georgia and Azerbaijan, neither of whom are on good terms with Russia, and offer good terrain for the defenders in those countries and Turkey.
  • Naval attacks by Russia would prompt a massive naval response by NATO if it threatens the tanker traffic across the Black Sea, independent of any Turkish request for support. The Russians do not have an advantage in ships or firepower versus the Turkish navy, and Turkey controls the only means to reinforce.
  • Russian air attacks across the Black Sea would face the largest non-USA air force in NATO, with over 200 F-16 fighters. Russia can exceed this only by stripping fighters other fronts.
  • Russian naval power in the Mediterranean Sea will be cut off from its bases on the Black Sea in event of a conflict with Turkey. The Russian base at Tartus can offer only limited logistical support, and is vulnerable to Turkish attack.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #22
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All out war by Turkey on the Assad regime in Syria would be counterproductive, especially as it would almost certain to be perceived by the Syrian population as an attempt to revive the Turkish Ottoman Empire. That would result in a 3 way war between Turkey, the rebels, and the Assad regime.

Russia does not have an effective means of intervening militarily in the event of Turkey taking any actions. Assuming no direct support for Turkey by NATO:
  • Any attack by Russia on Turkey would result in the immediate loss of the access between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea for Russian shipping and goods. This would have dramatic impact on the Russian economy, and the loss of oil exports would be compounded by Europe shifting its long term energy focus from Russia to Africa as a result.
  • The only land routes to Turkey go through Georgia and Azerbaijan, neither of whom are on good terms with Russia, and offer good terrain for the defenders in those countries and Turkey.
  • Naval attacks by Russia would prompt a massive naval response by NATO if it threatens the tanker traffic across the Black Sea, independent of any Turkish request for support. The Russians do not have an advantage in ships or firepower versus the Turkish navy, and Turkey controls the only means to reinforce.
  • Russian air attacks across the Black Sea would face the largest non-USA air force in NATO, with over 200 F-16 fighters. Russia can exceed this only by stripping fighters other fronts.
  • Russian naval power in the Mediterranean Sea will be cut off from its bases on the Black Sea in event of a conflict with Turkey. The Russian base at Tartus can offer only limited logistical support, and is vulnerable to Turkish attack.

Your points are quite valid in the context of Geo-strategy and military maneuvering. All out war may turn it in to Arab vs Turks and keeping in the mind the Ottoman history, it may turn into counterpunch for the Turks. The possible scenario is the GCC, Arab league political & military backing to Turks to hammer the Al-Assad hard.
Also first point of my previous post is equally important.

 Access from black sea to Mediterranean goes through Turkish straits and that choke point is firmly in control of the Turks.
 We should keep in mind that the regime is now changed in Georgia and the recent pool result are much to the encouragement for Russians (keep in mind Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipe line).
 Yes Turkey possesses around 250 F16 & some Phantoms and its Navy equipped with all the modern war machines and so to in good numbers but I still feel it is not to match with Russians.
 Turkish dependence on Russian & Iranian energy supplies makes it vulnerable ( supplier can bear the losses but consumer may die without supply)

The scenario suggest that Turkey with Arabs and NATO will carve out safe zone in 2 to 4 sectors along with its border to Syria and let the foot soldiering done by FSA & other fighters.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #23
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Your points are quite valid in the context of Geo-strategy and military maneuvering. All out war may turn it in to Arab vs Turks and keeping in the mind the Ottoman history, it may turn into counterpunch for the Turks. The possible scenario is the GCC, Arab league political & military backing to Turks to hammer the Al-Assad hard.
Also first point of my previous post is equally important.

 Access from black sea to Mediterranean goes through Turkish straits and that choke point is firmly in control of the Turks.
 We should keep in mind that the regime is now changed in Georgia and the recent pool result are much to the encouragement for Russians (keep in mind Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipe line).
 Yes Turkey possesses around 250 F16 & some Phantoms and its Navy equipped with all the modern war machines and so to in good numbers but I still feel it is not to match with Russians.
 Turkish dependence on Russian & Iranian energy supplies makes it vulnerable ( supplier can bear the losses but consumer may die without supply)

The scenario suggest that Turkey with Arabs and NATO will carve out safe zone in 2 to 4 sectors along with its border to Syria and let the foot soldiering done by FSA & other fighters.
Turkish military has fired artillery on fourth straight day into Syria shortly after a mortar round fired from Syria hit the southeastern Turkish border village of Akcakale.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #24
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Turkish military has fired artillery on fourth straight day into Syria shortly after a mortar round fired from Syria hit the southeastern Turkish border village of Akcakale.
My2Cents is pretty much right on the money here.
And i do not see a all out war with Syria either but it needs to be said that Russia's ability to help its ally Syria grows smaller with the day.
If Turkey would go against Syria, even if its just a coordinated attack to establish some sort of buffer then this would be a major blow to Assad, and given the rather good navy and rather good air-force of the Turks and their ability to be able to support their troops this close at home would render Russian support ineffective unless Russia goes all the way and even then Turkey is pretty much able to hold their own for a pretty long time.
Keep in mind Turkey is one of the biggest forces in the EU and has the ability to support such a force.
Another pretty important thing to consider is that Turkey has deep ties with the US in terms of hosting bases and such, so any Russian involvement would also deeply hurt the US presence in the region.
But lets not go that way, Turkey has the sovereign right to defend itself with measured strength and a all out attack will not be supported by the west UNLESS Syria or any other aggressor pulls the trigger first.
In other words if Turkey would stick to a rational and measured response to the Syrian threat then everything will be pretty much ok and Turkey will enjoy the support of its allies.
And if Russia would feel the need to intervene to protect Assad then Turkey could be a really big problem for them as Turkey is still a member of NATO and the EU and with big bases in Italy and Greece NATO and the EU could lock down access to Turkey and Syria.
So to speak the best way for Russia to support Assad is to play the UN council like they have been doing for the past years.

Also as My2Cents said the Turkish government voiced loads of criticism in terms of Syria and Iran and the western approach to deal with it and thus made some friends and enemies in the process.
And he is right that nobody will be happy with a new ottoman empire idea.
On the other hand it would solve the western problem in Syria, not to mention the fact is that Turkey can be considered the gate way to the middle east, and its strategic importance is undeniable in the region, so one could say that Erdocan needs to please and play both sides to keep a balance at home without causing to much of a stir as this would cause havoc at home.

But in the end of the day Ottoman history or not, I believe that Turkey can defend itself and if needed will defend them selfs successfully.
There will be some major problems for Turkey in doing so but they will and can pull trough.

And i share the idea with you that Russia might be a superior foe on paper, But Turkey has the benefit of the home turf and the ability to cut down support to the blacksea fleet in such way that for Russia to be success full its going to take weeks if not months to overcome that and to relocate their logistic network to overcome this.
And by that time Turkey will have harvested enough support to stop Russian involvement. As any rational mind would know that any step further will bring the point of no return to close for comfort.

But i am pretty sure that others like My2Cents can explain this much better then i could.
Still i think i got a solid point here.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #25
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My2Cents is pretty much right on the money here.
And i do not see a all out war with Syria either but it needs to be said that Russia's ability to help its ally Syria grows smaller with the day.
If Turkey would go against Syria, even if its just a coordinated attack to establish some sort of buffer then this would be a major blow to Assad, and given the rather good navy and rather good air-force of the Turks and their ability to be able to support their troops this close at home would render Russian support ineffective unless Russia goes all the way and even then Turkey is pretty much able to hold their own for a pretty long time.
Keep in mind Turkey is one of the biggest forces in the EU and has the ability to support such a force.
Another pretty important thing to consider is that Turkey has deep ties with the US in terms of hosting bases and such, so any Russian involvement would also deeply hurt the US presence in the region.
But lets not go that way, Turkey has the sovereign right to defend itself with measured strength and a all out attack will not be supported by the west UNLESS Syria or any other aggressor pulls the trigger first.
In other words if Turkey would stick to a rational and measured response to the Syrian threat then everything will be pretty much ok and Turkey will enjoy the support of its allies.
And if Russia would feel the need to intervene to protect Assad then Turkey could be a really big problem for them as Turkey is still a member of NATO and the EU and with big bases in Italy and Greece NATO and the EU could lock down access to Turkey and Syria.
So to speak the best way for Russia to support Assad is to play the UN council like they have been doing for the past years.

Also as My2Cents said the Turkish government voiced loads of criticism in terms of Syria and Iran and the western approach to deal with it and thus made some friends and enemies in the process.
And he is right that nobody will be happy with a new ottoman empire idea.
On the other hand it would solve the western problem in Syria, not to mention the fact is that Turkey can be considered the gate way to the middle east, and its strategic importance is undeniable in the region, so one could say that Erdocan needs to please and play both sides to keep a balance at home without causing to much of a stir as this would cause havoc at home.

But in the end of the day Ottoman history or not, I believe that Turkey can defend itself and if needed will defend them selfs successfully.
There will be some major problems for Turkey in doing so but they will and can pull trough.

And i share the idea with you that Russia might be a superior foe on paper, But Turkey has the benefit of the home turf and the ability to cut down support to the blacksea fleet in such way that for Russia to be success full its going to take weeks if not months to overcome that and to relocate their logistic network to overcome this.
And by that time Turkey will have harvested enough support to stop Russian involvement. As any rational mind would know that any step further will bring the point of no return to close for comfort.

But i am pretty sure that others like My2Cents can explain this much better then i could.
Still i think i got a solid point here.
Yes no doubt about that, you got solid points in your analysis of the current situation of Syrian crisis. My2cent’s observation is very methodical too. I have no doubt on the strength, ability and the capability of Turkish armed forces. I just raised few major main points

Huge Turkish dependence on Russian energy supplies (almost 65% of total gas consumed and some % of oil too)

Significant ethnic and religious minority of Kurds & Alevis ( Alevis even support Al-Assad) who openly oppose the war ( look CHP’s & DPP’s vote against the motion in Parliament). Country is not united when it comes to war.

Ottoman baggage (for that Turks need open support of Saudi Arabia & Egypt)

If Russia enters in the Warfield then how NATO reacts (just mare words or clear cut action), we must remember the Georgian adventurism and the brutal Russian response not long ago, though Turkey is not Georgia yet Russian is Tough nut to handle.

I am also of the view that the Turkish response will be limited to carve out the safe & no fly zone only.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #26
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... Yes Turkey possesses around 250 F16 & some Phantoms and its Navy equipped with all the modern war machines and so to in good numbers but I still feel it is not to match with Russians.....
No match for Russia, but it doesn't need to be. That's what being a member of NATO is good for.
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Old October 7th, 2012   #27
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Huge Turkish dependence on Russian energy supplies (almost 65% of total gas consumed and some % of oil too)
Don’t put too much faith in this, Russia has discovered the hard way that the use of its ‘gas weapon’ is a double edged sword. Since their last tiff with the Ukraine showed GASPROM working hand-in-glove with the Russian government western Europe has become very concerned about its dependency on Russian gas. The response including greater emphasis on offshore and north African sources, and backing away from plans to expand the Nord Stream pipeline (which gives Russia the ability to bypass the eastern European states).

For Russia to be seen to use their ability to withhold gas exports to politically influence Turkey would be the kiss of death for their future European export plans, with a huge impact on the Russian economy.
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Old October 8th, 2012   #28
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No match for Russia, but it doesn't need to be. That's what being a member of NATO is good for.
On paper yes, but in reality Russia will have a major problem getting around the Turkish navy and their air force (not to mention their land based assets) so personally the Turkish Airforce will be a major challenge for Russia.
Keep in mind Turkey is NOT Georgia it actually will fight back

Also it has been said that turkey has 200 aircraft.
Just did look on their webpage and they got nearly 350+ combat aircraft.
Turkish Airforce Official Site

Ill assume these numbers are correct.

Alright back on topic, question is does Russia want to help Syria and can Russia help Syria? I mean we all know that Syria is the last "cold war" puppet of Russia, but with Turkey being put into a position where it might have to take action against Syrian aggression it becomes increasingly more difficult for Russia to justify any help towards Syria it all, and the cost of this help/ diplomatic hassle might be a to big of a burden.
So honestly i could see Russia redraw from helping Syria as Assad sort of put himself in a position where he cannot be helped anymore.
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Old October 8th, 2012   #29
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Don’t put too much faith in this, Russia has discovered the hard way that the use of its ‘gas weapon’ is a double edged sword. Since their last tiff with the Ukraine showed GASPROM working hand-in-glove with the Russian government western Europe has become very concerned about its dependency on Russian gas. The response including greater emphasis on offshore and north African sources, and backing away from plans to expand the Nord Stream pipeline (which gives Russia the ability to bypass the eastern European states).

For Russia to be seen to use their ability to withhold gas exports to politically influence Turkey would be the kiss of death for their future European export plans, with a huge impact on the Russian economy.
export & import is give and take and yes, Turkey itself a big hydrocarbon market and it is a energy hub. Major supplies go through its land and territorial waters. After regime change in Ukrain and now in Georgia made Russians comfortable to handle other issues with ease than before.
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On paper yes, but in reality Russia will have a major problem getting around the Turkish navy and their air force (not to mention their land based assets) so personally the Turkish Airforce will be a major challenge for Russia.
Keep in mind Turkey is NOT Georgia it actually will fight back

Also it has been said that turkey has 200 aircraft.
Just did look on their webpage and they got nearly 350+ combat aircraft.
Turkish Airforce Official Site
List of active Turkish military aircraft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alright back on topic, question is does Russia want to help Syria and can Russia help Syria? I mean we all know that Syria is the last "cold war" puppet of Russia, but with Turkey being put into a position where it might have to take action against Syrian aggression it becomes increasingly more difficult for Russia to justify any help towards Syria it all, and the cost of this help/ diplomatic hassle might be a to big of a burden.
So honestly i could see Russia redraw from helping Syria as Assad sort of put himself in a position where he cannot be helped anymore.
It is always being said about F-16's that Turkey posses, apart from that they have old mid life upgrade F-4 & F-5's so over all they have around 400 combat aircraft.

Turkey should take along Egyptian & Saudi Arabian armed forces and conduct joint operation against Al-Assad forces. Use NATO umbrella as a bulwark to contain Russians.
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