Turkey resumes shelling of Syria
on 04/10/2012 08:15:09
A military unit in the border town of Akcakale resumed strikes at Syrian targets overnight and shelling continued this morning, state-run TRT television reported.
A woman, her three daughters and another woman were killed in Akcakale when a shell from Syria hit a home.
Tensions between the two neighbours have escalated sharply and Nato convened an emergency meeting in response.
"Our armed forces at the border region responded to this atrocious attack with artillery fire on points in Syria that were detected with radar, in line with the rules of engagement," the Turkish government said yesterday in a statement from the prime minister's office.
The Syrian shelling appeared to come from forces loyal to president Bashar Assad's regime, which is fighting rebels backed by Turkey in an escalating civil war.
The office of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement: "Turkey, acting within the rules of engagement and international laws, will never leave unreciprocated such provocations by the Syrian regime against our national security."
Turkish media said Turkey has prepared a parliamentary bill for Syria that is similar to one that authorises the Turkish military to intervene in northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish militants who have bases there.
The bill is expected to be discussed in parliament, Anadolu agency reported.
If approved, the bill could more easily open the way to unilateral action by Turkey's armed forces inside Syria, without the involvement of its Western and Arab allies.
Nato's National Atlantic Council, which is composed of the alliance's ambassadors, held an emergency meeting in Brussels at Turkey's request to discuss the cross-border incident.
The meeting ended with a statement strongly condemning the attack and saying: "The alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally."
It also urged the Syrian regime to "put an end to flagrant violations of international law".
An aide to Mr Erdogan later said that Turkey has no intention of declaring war on Syria.
The aide said the shelling of Syria should be seen as a "warning to Syria".