Turkey Toughens Syria Stance, Will Aid Rebels

Turkey’s prime minister Tuesday pledged support for Syrian rebels “to liberate the Syrians from dictatorship” and said his country would respond militarily to any violation of its border by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. "The Syrian administration is tyrannical and not just. Turkey will be in solidarity with our brothers in Syria until a new regime is in place," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said. The announcement came as Turkey met with other NATO members Tuesday to respond to Syria's downing of a Turkish military jet — an action Turkey wants NATO to regard as an attack on the alliance. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the once-ragtag militias of Syrian rebels are evolving into an increasingly organized and complex military force with the help of activists in Turkey. Turkish officials and media reported Monday that dozens of Syrian troops, colonels among them, were defecting from the regime into Turkey.

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