The embattled Syrian government has made it clear that any intruding Turkish fighter jet would be shot down. The regime accused Ankara of potentially preparing for a cross-border campaign against Kurdish forces in the restive region.

Turkey is thought to be planning to launch fresh assaults in the coming days, including aerial attacks, against the Syrian-Kurd militia, which it calls "terrorists".

Tensions between the two nations reportedly grew after the US recently announced it is set to formally provide aid and training to the YPG Kurdish fighters to establish a border force.

Angered by Washington's move, Turkey has also approached Iran and Russia, Syria's key allies, for a clearance to conduct aerial operations in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin. Ankara has already deployed tanks near the border region of Afrin where many areas are controlled by Kurdish fighters. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are reportedly already holding drills in final preparations for an offensive.

"We warn the Turkish leaders that if they start fighting in the region of Afrin, it will be seen as an aggression by the Turkish army against the sovereignty of Syria," said Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad.

He warned that the Turkish aircraft will have "no picnic" in Syrian airspace and his forces are ready to "destroy" those incurring jets. "We warn that the Syrian Air Force is ready to destroy Turkish air targets in the skies of Syria," he said.

Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said his country is determined to press on with its anti-Kurdish measures. "Turkey is subject to attacks every day from Afrin. It is our right to self-defence in line with international law to take measures against a terror group surrounding us on three sides," he told the CNN Turk.

The Kurdish militia, which is estimated to control as much as 25% of Syrian territory, had the backing of US forces and has been at the forefront of anti-Isis operations in the region. Kurdish leaders have pledged to battle against Turkey's planned offensive but, also sought help from outside powers to protect a million civilians residing in the region.

Meanwhile, the US has also called on Turkey to show some restraint before pounding targets in Afrin. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauret said: "We would call [...] on the Turks to not take any actions of that sort. We don't want them to engage in violence but we want them to keep focused on Isis [Islamic State]."

Turkey Syria tensions
A Turkish military tank arrives at an army base in the border town of Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey Osman Orsal/Reuters