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Turkey on Alert for Possible Syrian Chemical Attack

Aug. 30, 2013 - 11:02AM   |  
By BURAK EGE BEKDIL   |   Comments
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held critical meetings Thursday with top security officials to discuss measures to counter a possible chemical weapons attack from Syria. (Adem Altan / AFP)
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ANKARA — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held critical meetings Thursday with top security officials to discuss measures to counter a possible chemical weapons attack from neighboring Syria, officials said.

Chief of General Staff Necdet Ozel, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Interior Minister Muammer Guler, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz and Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan were among those at the three-hour meeting, the officials said.

The meeting came as the United States, Britain and France take steps for military action against Syria.

The Turkish military has also issued an alert warning about possible chemical attacks from Syria, military officials said.

A U.N. inspection team is continuing its investigation into a reported chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus, which could be the turning point in the two-and-a-half-year conflict. The team is expected to complete its report Saturday.

Meanwhile in Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. is committed to Turkey’s defense against any possible Syrian attack.

Asked by journalists about Washington’s response in the event of a Syrian chemical weapons attack against Turkey, Jordan or Israel, Earnest said the U.S.’s priority was the protection of international norms, Turkish and international news services reported.

“We have a defense agreement with Turkey. We have a commitment to protect our ally Turkey,” he said.

He also added that the U.S. has a similar commitment with Israel. “Our relations with Jordan are a little different, but it’s a critical partner in the region,” Earnest said.

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