JERUSALEM (JTA) — Turkey and Syria began a joint military exercise that Israel’s defense minister called "disturbing."
During the three-day drill, which began Monday, the Syrian and Turkish armies will cross the countries’ shared border for exercises.
"Today we see a Syrian-Turkish drill, which is certainly a disturbing development," Ehud Barak said. "But I believe that the strategic ties between Israel and Turkey will overcome even Turkey’s need to take part in this drill."
Turkey is Israel’s closest ally in the region. The Muslim country has hosted several rounds of indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel.
"The exercise aims to boost friendship, cooperation and confidence between the two land forces, and to increase the capability of them to train," the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday. "This is the first time the two land forces will stage such an exercise."