ANTAKYA, Turkey A general in the rebel Free Syria Army said on Friday that Syrian government forces had amassed around 170 tanks north of the city Aleppo, near the Turkish border, but there was no independent confirmation of the report.
General Mustafa al-Sheikh, head of the Higher Military Council, an association of senior officers who defected from President Bashar al-Assads forces, said the tanks had assembled at the Infantry School near the village of Musalmieh northeast of the city of Aleppo, 30 kms (19 miles) from the Turkish border.
"The tanks are now at the Infantry School. They're either preparing to move to the border to counter the Turkish deployment or attack the rebellious (Syrian) towns and villages in and around the border zone north of Aleppo," Sheikh told Reuters by telephone from the border.
He said the tanks were mostly from the 17th Mechanised Division.
Turkey deployed air defense weaponry along its border with Syria on Thursday, following Syria's downing of a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean on Friday.
(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Ralph Boulton)