Syrian troops near Turkish border: Rebels

The rebel Free Syrian Army said on Friday  that Syrian troops were massing near the Turkish border amid tensions since Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet last week.

“There are military units massing 15 km or slightly more, from the Turkish border, in the northern region of Syria,” said FSA supreme military council head Mustafa al-Sheikh.

Asked to comment, a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman reported: “No hostile intentions from the Syrian side.”

Sheikh said around 2,500 troops backed by 170 tanks and other vehicles were stationed in the border area, roughly 25 km from the main northern city of Aleppo, citing estimates from fighters on the ground.

Government forces have “regrouped and withdrawn from some of their checkpoints on the outskirts of Aleppo city to new locations” near the border, he said. Sheikh said the troop build-up could be a “show of force against the Turkish military, which increased its presence on the Syrian border after the downing of its warplane by Syria.”

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