5 June 2014
Turkey has re-installed an encrypted, long-range radio to its territory at the Süleyman Shah Tomb in Syria, despite the al-Assad regimes objection in the past, military sources have told daily Hürriyet.
The historic tomb, which sits 25 kilometers from the border and remains under Turkish sovereignty under a 1921 treaty, hosts a military garrison that has recently been threatened by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
A high-level military officer had visited the garrison before the civil war erupted in Syria and instructed a better radio system be installed. The old system was only able to communicate with the nearest military post on Turkeys border with Syria, meaning the garrison was offline with its commanding headquarters in the Armored Brigade based in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa.
Shortly after a hi-tech, encrypted, long-range military radio was installed at the garrison by Turkey, Damascus had filed an official complaint to Ankara, citing the extraordinary signal activity discovered by Syrian intelligence in the region. The Turkish army removed the new radio after being informed by the Turkish Foreign Ministry of this diplomatic note.
The recent threats from the Islamist militants in Syria, as well as the deterioration of relations between Ankara and Damascus, have made Turkey decide to re-install the radio.
Military sources told daily Hürriyet the Turkish soldiers at the Süleyman Shah Tomb are now able to communicate directly with other military posts inside Turkey hundreds of kilometers away. The radio system, which remains constantly online, is also described as uninterceptable.
Responding to claims that Turkish forces started an operation against the ISIL, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 23 that a military convoy carried aid into Syria to reinforce the garrison at the Süleyman Shah Tomb. Special Forces had earlier been sent to the garrison that formerly hosted 25 Turkish soldiers.