|Part of Syrian civil war|
Syrian tanks crossing the Turkish border
| Bashar al-Assad|
Fahd Jassem al-Freij
Wael Nader al-Halqi
| Abdullah Gül|
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
The Turkish-Syrian War was a conflict principally between Syria and its allies against Turkey and the Syrian opposition. The conflict was spurred by the Syrian civil war. Based on popular views, the war started on 30 October 2012 when the Syrian Army crossed over the Syrian-Turkish border as a retaliation to a Turkish attack the day before. The crisis in Syria finally ended on 11 November 2012 when Bashar al-Assad fled from Syria and the Ba'ath Party overthrown from the government after ruling for nearly five decades; a provisional government to pave the way for a new Syrian government, promising "democratic" changes, has been established since.
The Syrian National Council was mandated to be the legitimate government of Syria until the end of January 2013, forming the Transitional Syrian Government (TSG). The Free Syrian Army has been mandated to be the official military of Syria until the end of January 2013 also; it has since absorbed the remnants of the Syrian Armed Forces. Currently there is a rift between the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Syrian Kurdish faction, and the Transitional Syrian Government. The PYD is divided on whether they should seek autonomy or independence in the new Syrian government which has caused much disagreement with the TSG which is only offering autonomy on the same pattern as Iraqi Kurdistan.
A key characteristic of this conflict was that there was no formal declaration of war from Turkey and Syria although their respective armed forces are clashing against each other in a de facto war. The lack of acknowledgement from both parties regarding the war between them was one of the principal reasons why NATO ruled out from deploying its forces in Syria even though Turkey is a member-state. NATO forces though was stationed in the Syrian-Turkish border to show that it will defend one of its members although the official reason for the deployment was for "peacekeeping purposes and to ensure that the violence will not spill to the border".
As the Syrian civil war continues on, Turkey continues to support the Syrian opposition by supplying them with weapons, giving military assistance, and provding shelter to refugees. Syria-Turkey relations began to deteriorate further when a Turkish Air Force RF-4E was shot down by the Syrian Armed Forces on 22 June 2012. A series of cross-border military operations were soon perpetrated by both Syria and Turkey.
On 10 October 2012, a Turkish F-16 intercepted a Syrian Air Airbus A320, flight RB442 from Moscow to Damascus within Turkish airspace and forced it to land in a Turkish air base. Turkey later announced that the plane was carrying military equipment which Syria and Russia quickly denied.
On 29 October 2012, a refugee camp near the Turkish-Syrian border was hit by mortar and artillery shells fired by Syrian troops which resulted to numerous deaths. A Turkish convoy of military supply trucks distributing food, water and other necessities to the refugees was also hit; 6 Turkish soldiers died. Syria announced that it was targeting Turkish military installations that were constructed beyond the Turkish border. The attack prompted the Turkish army to conduct a major retaliatory cross-border attack on the same day which resulted to severe casualties to the Syrian armed forces.
On 30 October 2012, the Syrian army launched a massive offensive across the border, provoked by the Turkish cross-border attack made yesterday. The attack was supposed to be a simple raid but the Syrian troops, and their tanks, advanced further into the border and effectively occupied the gained Turkish ground, technically making it an invasion. The war then started without any formal declaration of war.
Although initially caught in a surprise attack, the Turkish Armed Forces were able to regroup and within a few hours were able to counter-attack. The Syrian Armed Forces on the other hand, broke their own momentum by halting its advances since Syrian commanders were worried that their forces would outrun their own supply transports if they continued. Turkish reinforcements were then able to mount an offensive to the exhausted Syrian troops and by October 31, Turkey regained its lost ground.
Turkey immediately created supply routes, communications and intelligence networks, and entire military elements to provide support to the Syrian opposition after reaching another round of stalemate with the Syrians in the original border. By doing so, the Syrian opposition were able to effectively draw much needed troops from the border frontlines back to within Syria to suppress opposition movements. Turkey would eventually let the Syrian opposition do most of head-on attacks against forces still loyal to al-Assad; the Turkish military would only conduct supporting artillery fire and airstrikes, defend rebel-held territories, and give indirect support such as intelligence gathering and resupplying.