Last week, Turkey forced a Syrian plane coming from Russia to land and confiscated what it said was military equipment on board. Russia said the plane was carrying spare radar parts, while Syria accused Turkey of piracy.
After a week of exchanges of fire across the volatile border, a Turkish newspaper reported that Turkey has reinforced four naval bases along its Mediterranean coast north of Syria. In an unattributed report, the Hurriyet daily said Turkey sent frigates with cannons, as well as anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles to the naval bases.
Turkey has been retaliating for Syrian shells and mortar rounds hitting Turkish soil.
Despite Turkey's recent measures, Syrian opposition leaders say Ankara and other foreign backers of the rebels are not doing enough to help them break the battlefield stalemate. Abdelbaset Sieda, head of the largest opposition group, the Syrian National Council, said the international community is doing nothing more than managing the Syrian conflict.
The international community must establish safe havens in Syria and enforce no-fly zones to help the rebels counter the regime's airstrikes on rebel-held areas, Sieda told reporters in Istanbul, Turkey. This would also cut down on the number of Syrians seeking refuge abroad and "resolve the humanitarian crisis, especially with winter approaching," he said.
The idea of safe havens has found little international support. Foreign backers of the rebels fear being dragged deeper into the conflict. Over the summer, the Assad regime stepped up airstrikes in an attempt to dislodge rebel fighters from urban strongholds, sharply driving up daily casualty tolls.