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Cablegate: Sign of Improving Relations -- Turks Fight Fire In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ANKARA 006258

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN PREL SY TU
SUBJECT: SIGN OF IMPROVING RELATIONS -- TURKS FIGHT FIRE IN
SYRIA


1. Turkish officials over the past year have spoken often of
improving relations with Syria. But so far it has been
mostly talk, until October 27, when in a surprising show of
cooperation, Syria asked for and Turkey delivered planes and
fire fighters to put out a blaze along the border of Turkey's
Hatay province, which as recently as 1998, looked to be on
the front lines of a war between the two countries over
Syria's protection of PKK units and leaders.

2. On October 26, a serious fire broke out in Latakia
province, which borders the Turkish province of Hatay.
Syrian officials were forced to evacuate 25 villages and
needed help to control the blaze. Hasan Ipek, head of
Turkey's Emergency Management Agency told us Syrian Prime
Minister Al-Utri called Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan that
night asking for help. Erdogan authorized Ipek to arrange
for three planes from the Turkish Army, two Forest Service
helicopters and other equipment and personnel to be sent to
Syria. After the two foreign ministries worked out details
to allow the Turkish planes to cross into Syria, at 5:00 am
the equipment and personnel were on their way to Syria. By
10:00 am, the fire was out.
EDELMAN

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