TEL AVIV – President Bashar al-Assad of Syria held a meeting today with his regime’s army leadership to discuss the possibility of a full general military mobilization to face the prospect of war with Turkey, according to a senior Syrian official speaking to WND.
The official said no decision has been taken about whether to mobilize all branches or to call up the reserves, citing an argument at the meeting that Syria doesn’t want to be seen as taking the first major step toward war.
According to Middle East security officials, Assad’s regime may have another reason for delaying the callup of reserves. The Syrian leader, they say, fears a full-scale reserve callup may result in an embarrassingly large number of troops refusing to serve.
The officials said that while Assad can depend on Shiite, Druze and Christian reserves, there is concern of large scale refusal among the Sunni population. The majority of the Syrian military is Sunni, while most of the military leadership comes from Assad’s Alawite religious group.
Already last month, Syria called up some reserves with many reportedly failing to show up for duty.
The information came as Turkey and Syria traded artillery fire today for the sixth consecutive day.
Turkey reportedly bombarded Syrian army positions in response to what Turkish officials said was a new shell strike on a border town.
The exchanges came hours after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier today called the escalating conflict on the Syrian-Turkish “extremely dangerous” and made a strong appeal for countries to stop the flow of arms into the region.
Speaking at an international conference on democracy in Strasbourg, Ban said the escalating tensions along the Turkey-Syria border could have serious implications for the region.
He said the internal situation in Syria had “dramatically worsened” and was causing “serious risks to the stability of Syria’s neighbors and the entire region.”