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September 24, 2021

Turkey sends anti-aircraft guns to Syria border

Clinton to attend emergency Syria meeting amid fresh killing. Russia ‘supports Annan unity government plan.

Turkey has begun deploying rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along its border with Syria after last week’s shooting down of a Turkish plane, BBC reports.Columns of military vehicles have been seen moving from military bases to the border, close to where the jet crashed.The F-4 Phantom jet went down in the sea after straying into Syrian airspace. The pilots are still missing. Meanwhile, explosions have been reported in the centre of Damascus, outside the palace of justice. Syrian state TV said there had been a “terrorist explosion” in the car park and witnesses spoke of a thick plume of smoke in the area. There are also reports of clashes in the Damascus suburb of Douma, where opposition activists say four people have been killed. Turkey’s decision to reinforce its border with Syria comes two days after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a change in terms of its military engagement. Extra troops have been sent to the area and Turkish TV has shown pictures of a small convoy of lorries carrying anti-aircraft guns into a military base near the border town of Yayladagi.In another development, CNN reports that, a day after a State Department official told reporters Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would only attend an international meeting on Syria if participants agreed to a political transition in that country, the agency said she will participate.The emergency meeting set for Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland, was called by Kofi Annan, who is gathering world diplomats to come up with a plan to end the violence in Syria that has left thousands dead.The meeting will bring together top diplomats of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and Turkey. Envoys from the United Nations, European Union, and Arab League also were invited.Russia and other big powers have agreed to back a proposal by UN envoy Kofi Annan for a national unity government to lead political change in Syria, BBC further reports. Western diplomats say the proposed cabinet could include members of the opposition and government, but no-one who would undermine its credibility. While they see President Bashar al-Assad as excluded from the plan, it is not clear if Russia shares that view.

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