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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Washington Treaty
Syria's protracted civil war is spilling across its borders, creating breeding grounds for extremists, sharpening sectarian schisms and threatening to destabilize U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Turkey's prime minister insisted Thursday that his country does not want to go to war with Syria, after the Turkish parliament authorized military action against Syria's regime and Turkish forces lobbed mortars into Syria for the second consecutive day.
The Pentagon expressed support Wednesday for NATO member Turkey, whose forces shelled targets in Syria in response to a Syrian mortar attack on a Turkish border town that killed five civilians.
NATO ambassadors will discuss this week whether to respond to Syria's downing of a Turkish jet in what Turkey insists was international airspace, although the likelihood of any military action by the alliance is low. The plane's downing has further increased regional tensions over the conflict in Syria, where some 40 people were said to have died Sunday in new clashes between rebels and regime forces.
NATO leaders will meet this week to discuss whether or how to respond to Syria's downing of a Turkish jet in what Turkey insists was international airspace.
"What's happening in Syria is a period of change. This change, unfortunately, is not helping things," he added.