(MENAFN - Arab News) Turkey has confirmed it is deploying more fighter jets to an airbase close to the border with Syria, amid artillery exchanges along its tense southeastern border with Syria.
The announcement came amid reports of fierce fighting in the northern Idlib province yesterday where Syrian fighters are trying to take control of a strategic town.
"Assad ... is only able to stand up with crutches," Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, told a meeting of his ruling AK Party, Al Jazeera channel reported.
"He will be finished when the crutches fall away."
Meanwhile, NATO is ready to defend Turkey, the alliance's top official said yesterday, in a direct warning to Syria.
The comments by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen were the strongest show of support to Turkey since the firing began last Wednesday - though the solidarity is largely symbolic.
"Obviously Turkey can rely on NATO solidarity," Fogh Rasmussen said ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. "We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary."