Turkey launches artillery strike against Syria retaliating to mortar attack on border


Smoke rises from the explosion area after several Syrian shells crashed in Turkey

Wednesday evening at 16:30 local time an artillery strike was launched on targets in Turkey from Syria. As a result of the attack on the town of Akcakale, which lies near the border with Syria in the province of Sanliurfa, 5 people were killed and 9 others injured. The Turkish armed forces immediately struck back at separate targets in Syria.

On Wednesday at approximately 22:00 local time the Prime Minister of Turkey, issued the following statement: “In the framework of the rules of engagement our army delivered return fire on the border areas. The targets of the artillery strike in Syria were determined with the help of radar. In the framework of the rules of military and international law Turkey will never allow such a provocation against its national security to go unanswered.”

Immediately after the artillery shells entered the territory of Turkey, under orders from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Foreign Ministry immediately held telephone talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and some of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the UN Security Council.

According to comments made to the press by the Prime Minister of Turkey, telephone consultations were held with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and it was decided to immediately hold a meeting of the NATO Council.

Meanwhile, in June this year after the incident with the downed F-4 phantom, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Turkey would reconsider its attitude towards Syria and any Syrian military equipment which appeared in the proximity of the border would be seen as a threat. Due to this statement by the Prime Minister local experts have concluded that Turkish-Syrian relations have reached a point where an open-armed-conflict could break out at any time.

It is also worth noting that on the 17th of October the authorization to conduct military operations outside the territory of Turkey will end.

The authorization has been renewed annually through resolutions passed by the Turkish Parliament. Said resolutions allow for special operations to be conducted in Iraq against insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Without waiting for the validity of the authorization, the Turkish Parliament on Thursday will hold an emergency meeting, during which it is most likely the agenda will include the issue of providing the Turkish Armed Forces with authorization to conduct military operations in Syria as well.

During the shelling, an explosion in the town of Akcakale killed 5 people and injured 9 others. A shell hit a residential building located in a district close to the border.

In connection with the ongoing fighting between the rebels and the Syrian Army on the other side of the border, the city of Tel Abyad and the town of Akcakale where the border crossing between Syria and Turkey is located, continue to remain under threat. Panic has spread for more than a radius of 50 kilometers from the border.

According to the head of the Municipality of Akcakale, Abdulhakima Ayhan, the border area near the Syrian district of Tel Abyad, on the border with Turkey, is in the hands of the opposition.

“Assad’s army strikes using tanks and artillery. Some shells fall on us and we are convinced that the shells were fired by government forces,” he said.

Today’s incident is not the first such case in which the Syrian conflict has affected people in Turkish territory. A similar incident occurred on September 28 in the District Akcakale, about 700 meters from the border when a bomb fell in a neighborhood not far from a government residence. The incident slightly injured three local residents, two houses partially collapsed and nearby buildings were damaged.

After the September 28th incident Turkey sent an official “note” to the Syrian Foreign Minister.

Turkey seeks parliament approval for foreign deployment

Turkey’s government said “aggressive action” by Syria’s military had become a serious threat to its security and sought parliament approval for the deployment of Turkish troops beyond its borders, according to a memorandum sent to parliament.

Ibrahim Kalin, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, said on his Twitter account that Turkey had no interest in a war with Syria but would protect its borders. He said political and diplomatic initiatives would continue.

Moscow expects ‘balanced’ response from UN on border incident

Russia has urged the UN Security Council to offer a balanced response to the Turkey-Syria cross-border incident, a diplomatic source at the UN headquarters said after the organization discussed the exchange of fire in Akcakale.

Turkish artillery fired on targets in Syria after shells from across the border killed five Turkish nationals.

Five people were killed and eight more injured. Ankara blames the violence on Damascus, while the exact place from where the fire came has not been yet located.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed outrage at the mortar from Syria

Turkey’s military continued to launch artillery strikes early on Thursday targeting the Tel Abyad district around 10 km (6.2 miles) inside the Syrian border, Turkish security sources said.

The sources said a mortar bomb fired from Syria that killed five Turkish civilians on Wednesday had been fired from Tel Abyad. They said soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been killed by the Turkish artillery fire.

In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey hit back at what it called “the last straw” when a mortar hit a residential neighbourhood of the southern border town of Akcakale.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several Syrian soldiers were killed in the Turkish bombardment of a military post near the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, a few miles across the frontier from Akcakale. It did not say how many soldiers died.

NATO said it stood by member-nation Turkey and urged Syria to put an end to “flagrant violations of international law.”

The U.S.-led Western military alliance held an urgent late night meeting in Brussels to discuss the matter and later on Wednesday in New York, Turkey asked the U.N. Security Council to take the “necessary action” to stop Syrian aggression.

In a letter to the president of the 15-nation Security Council, Turkish U.N. Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan called the firing of the mortar bomb “a flagrant violation of international law as well as a breach of international peace and security.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed outrage at the mortar from Syria and said Washington would discuss with Ankara what the next steps should be, calling the spread of violence a “very, very dangerous situation”. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Clinton had assured him of Washington’s full support at the United Nations and NATO.

Turkey asks UN for action to stop Syria’s aggression

Turkey has asked the UN Security Council to take necessary action to stop Syria’s aggression and to make Syria respect the sovereignty of the neighboring country.

On Wednesday, shells fired from the Syrian territory went off in Turkey killing five people. According to the Turkish media, the shells were fired by the Syrian governmental army. In response Turkey hit the targets on the territory from which the shells had been fired.

NATO and the UN have demanded that Syria should stop any aggression against Turkey. The Syrian authorities expressed condolences to the families of the killed people and began the investigation of the incident.

UK condemns Syrian mortar attack

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has condemned a Syrian mortar attack on a Turkish village, describing the cross-border shelling by President Bashar Assad’s regime as “a stark reminder of the deteriorating situation in Syria”.

“I condemn the violence from the Syrian regime which has led to the deaths of a number of Turkish citizens, including a mother and her children. This was an outrageous act. We demand that the Syrian regime avoid any repetition of today’s incident on the border with Turkey,” the Foreign Secretary said.

“Turkey is one of our closest allies and key partners in the region and we will continue to work closely together on the Syria crisis and remain in close touch over the coming days,“ he continued.

Mr. Hague had spoken to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to express his sympathies for the victim’s families and communities.

The attack was also strongly condemned by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that the US was “outraged that the Syrians have been shooting across the border”, and Nato’s National Atlantic Council, which had held an emergency meeting in Brussels on Wednesday night following a request from Ankara.

NATO calls on Syria to stop aggression

NATO “fully supports Turkey” and “demands that Syria immediately cease all acts of aggression against Ankara.” This comes in a statement issued by the NATO Council after an emergency meeting regarding the situation on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Turkey opened fire on Syrian territory in response to an incident on the border town Akcakale.

A shell launched from Syrian territory hit a house on Wednesday in Turkey killing 5 and injuring 13.

Turkey believes that the shell was fired by units of the Republican Army of Syria.

In response to the deaths of its citizens Turkish artillery pounded targets in Syria.

Turkey hits Syria after deadly shelling

Turkey on Wednesday shelled Syria in retaliation for cross-border fire that killed five Turkish nationals, the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s office said in a statement.

“Our armed forces in the border region responded immediately to this abominable attack in line with their rules of engagement; targets were struck through artillery fire against places in Syria identified by radar,” the statement said.

“Turkey will never leave unanswered such kinds of provocation by the Syrian regime against our national security.”

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had spoken by telephone with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the foreign ministers of several UN Security Council member countries about the incident, the statement said.

Davutoglu had also agreed with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the need for an emergency meeting of NATO members, the statement said.

The mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in a residential district of the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale earlier Wednesday, killing a woman and four children from the same family and wounding at least eight other people.

A cloud of dust and smoke rose up over low-rise buildings as residents ran to help the wounded. Others, infuriated by the increasing spillover of violence from Syria’s civil war, took to the streets shouting protests against the local authorities.

In response to the incident, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Syrian government to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbors and warned that the 18-month-long conflict in Syria is increasingly harming other countries in the region.

UN`s Ban comments on Turkey-Syria border incident

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges Turkey to avoid further tensions with Syria after a cross-border incident on Wednesday, Mr. Ban`s press secretary Martin Nesirki said.

Turkish artillery fired on targets in Syria after shells from across the border killed five Turkish nationals.

Five people were killed and eight more injured.

Ankara responded by firing targets in Syria.

Damascus expressed condolences to the family of the dead and launched an investigation into the incident.





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