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Intercepted Russian Attack Copters Will Reach Syria; Turks Add Anti-Aircraft Guns at Border

The refurbished attack helicopters bound for Syria that were intercepted and returned to a Russian port earlier this month will be delivered to Syria after all. The incident triggered a back-and-forth between US Secretary of State Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reminiscent of Cold War rhetoric. Clinton originally accused Russia of sending weapons to Damascus that are then turned on opponents of the regime, but the Russians insisted that the choppers were already Syrian possessions, just out for repair. On Thursday, a Russian defense official said the attack helicopters are heading back to Syria without saying how or when the shipment will be made. It is widely assumed that the helicopters and other military equipment will be flown in this time. Turkey has followed-up its placement of tanks on its border with Syria with the addition of anti-aircraft guns on Thursday. Tension between the two governments has not subsided in the aftermath of last Friday’s shooting down by Syria of a Turkish American-made, Israeli-improved, F-4 Phantom fighter jet.