Turkish weapons on Syrian border… deterrence policy or declaration of war?
Turkey has reinforced its military presence in north-western Syria; top headlines such as “a Turkish military column enters Syria’s Idlib through the Kafr Lusin border crossing” started to hit the local Syrian news on a daily basis. The Syrian media outlets pointed out that tens of Turkish armored military vehicles, soldiers, tanks entered north-western Syria.
Tensions between Turkey and Syria have been rising since the Syrian regime forces wrested control of strategic towns and cities, including Maarat al-Numan and Saraqib, in the province of Idlib and its countryside. Since then, Turkey has not stopped sending military reinforcements: armored vehicles, tanks, and armored personnel carriers moving heavy arms such as rocket launchers, jamming systems, anti-armor weapons, and others.
The ongoing arrival of Turkish military convoys, which is described as “massive,” to the Syrian border has raised many questions about their purpose.
The Turkish moves could be a deterrence policy to intimidate the Russia-backed Syrian regime forces and drive them back behind the Turkish observation posts.
Previously the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatened to carry out a military operation if the Syrian regime and its ally Russia did not withdraw before the end of February.
On the other hand, the Turkish military build-up is also a sign of imminent war as the Turkish government administration is preparing to put its words into action if the Syrian regime did not respond to its warnings.
Turkish Minister of Defence, Hulusi Akar, visited the Turkish-Syrian border twice last February and confirmed the readiness of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF).
Enab Baladi monitored the most distinguished weapons used by the TAF in the battles in al-Nayrab town along with the Syrian National Army (SNA) in eastern rural Idlib. It also observed the arms on the Syrian border reported by the Turkish mass media.
“T-122 Sakarya” rocket launcher
The “T-122 Sakarya” is a Turkish multiple launch rocket system developed by “Roketsan.” “Roketsan” is an essential Turkish weapons manufacturer operating since the middle of the past decade. The company has developed a new generation of (122mm SAKARYA ÇNRA) equipped with laser guidance to hit fixed and moving targets accurately.
The rocket launcher “T-122 Sakarya” is capable of striking targets at a distance of up to 40 km. It is a modernized version of the Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher ( the BM-21 “Grad”), and it can be equipped with different combat units.
“Jobaria” defense systems multiple cradle launcher
Jobaria is the world’s most massive rocket artillery by tube count, manufactured and developed by the Turkish company “Roketsan” on a request by the United Arab Emirates.
“Jobaria” has four rocket launchers attached to the trailer, each carrying sixty 122mm rockets Loaded on a ten-frame vehicle.
“Jobaria” has four rocket launchers attached to the trailer, each carrying sixty 122mm rockets loaded on a ten-frame vehicle. The multiple cradle launcher fires up to 240 rockets in a single shot in under two minutes. These missiles have a firing range of 37 km and can hit an area of four km2.
The multiple rocket launcher “Jobaria” was first presented in IDEX International Defence Exhibition and Conference in 2013 in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.
“Koral” radar jamming system
Koral is an electronic warfare system capable of intercepting, analyzing, and finding the direction of many types of traditional and complex radar signals.
The jamming system is effective against warplanes, and it is not available for export, as it is intended for the use of the Turkish Armed Forces only for its confidential capabilities.
“Koral” system consists of two separate divisions mounted on a vehicle; the first division’s mission is to monitor, intercept, analyze and classify radio waves and frequencies, whether friendly or enemy and then jam these frequencies, preventing them from reaching their target.
The system confuses conventional and complex radar signals of enemies responding to them automatically. Moreover, it has a range of about 150 km and is used to jam missiles launched from aircraft, ships, or missiles intended for air defense.
The “Koral” system entered service for the benefit of the Turkish Air Force, after conducting more than a thousand tests of the system.
It is designed and manufactured by “ASELSAN,” a Turkish corporation that produces electronic military systems. The company organized a ceremony for the system delivery to the Turkish Air Force, in the capital Ankara. The commander of the Air Force, Abidin Ünal, attended the ceremony in the framework of the agreement signed by “ASELSAN” with the consultants of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB).
The jamming system includes four “Koral” Electronic Support Systems (ED), and one Electronic Attack System (ET) installed on two military trucks. The military vehicles can be up to 500 meters away from each other, and they communicate via fiber optic cables.
T-155 Firtina (storm) self-propelled howitzer
Manufactured by the”ASELSAN” corporation and characterized by its ability to fire three different calibers of shells at one target. The howitzer performs three artillery missions on its own, and it can launch six missiles per minute due to its automatic ammunition feeding mechanism. In addition to that, it includes a protection system for its crew being fully armored.
“SERHAT II” counter mortar radar system
Enab Baladi’s correspondents took images in north-western Syria, revealing that the TAF is using the “Serhat II” radar systems to detect areas launching mortar shells. The counter mortar radar is developed and manufactured by Turkey’s “ASELSAN” corporation, which specializes in military defense investments, in cooperation with the Turkish Defence Ministry.
SERHAT II is a mortar detection system. The system provides a 360° azimuth coverage; it monitors and tracks mortar shells launched by hostile parties in a 360° in azimuth range, at a distance of ten kilometers from the radar positioning.
It also identifies launch sites and detects locations hit by the mortars along with their range and speed, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency
It has an active role in tracking mortar frequencies on the horizon, locating the launched shells electronically through command centers and computer mapping.
“Serhat II” systems are characterized by the multiple detections of targets (more than one goal at the same time), integrated with a command control system, as well as supporting the transportation of other military vehicles.
Moreover, the system provides a silhouette of the terrain, determining friendly and enemy regions while viewing targets on the map and offering electronic protection measures and testing inside the system’s device.
The radar carries three supports, which can be placed on the roofs of buildings or vehicles.
The continuous violation of the de-escalation “Sochi” agreement by the Russian-backed Syrian regime drove the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to escalate threats through the increasing of the military convoys lodged with various weapons and rocket systems on the Syrian border.
Besides, the latest developments in the opposition’s last stronghold areas and the killing of 15 Turkish soldiers by a Syrian regime bombing soared tensions between Turkey and the Syrian-Russian allies, especially after going through a series of negotiations without reaching an agreement.
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