All units of the 100,000-strong Turkish Land Forces' 2nd Army Command have been put on standby. The 2nd Army units, some of which are allotted to fight the PKK, are now preparing for any eventuality along the Syrian border.
Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan, in response to Assad’s chemical warfare threat and the Kurdish takeover of towns in Northern Syria, said the Turkish army was “on full steam.”
Following Assad’s threat and moves by Syrian Kurds on the ground, the Turkish armed forces elevated their combat readiness level. Military activities and movements are now a common sight in towns near the border.
Arrival of units to confront chemical warfare attracted much attention in the region. Also noted were unusual military activities to boost border security and to cope with a new wave of refugees. These activities followed Erdogan’s remarks on the need for new camps to deal with new refugee arrivals and the possibility of creating a buffer zone or safe zone on the Syrian side of the border.
There is concern in Turkey that the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] might have freedom of movement in the region after its ally the Democratic Union Party (PYD) took over the control of the Syrian side of the border. Turkey has intelligence reports that some of the PKK forces at Northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountains have moved to Syria. The 2nd Army units are now focusing on measures to prevent border breaches. All 2nd Army units in the region are on full alert. Two army corps attached to the 2nd Army, which has its headquarters at Malatya, are on duty on Syrian and Iraqi borders. Its third corps, the 4th Division, is based in Ankara but its two commando brigades and artillery brigade have been shifted to the Southeast.