Turkey launches artillery attacks on Syrian targets in retaliation after five civilians were killed in mortar strike

  • Turkish PM:  ‘Our armed forces responded immediately  to abominable attack’
  • Five people killed when Syrian shells struck  border village earlier in the day
  • Action by Ankara threatens to drag the West  into  military conflict with Assad

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:15:09 EST, 3  October 2012| UPDATED:15:16 EST, 3 October 2012

Turkey fired on targets inside Syria tonight  in a dangerous escalation of the war which has engulfed President Assad’s  country.

The artillery strikes were in retaliation for  the bombing of a Turkish village earlier in the day which killed five  civilians.

Last night, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip  Erdogan said in a statement that his country’s military had struck targets  inside Syria.

'Abominable attack': Turkey has launched artillery strikes inside Syria in retaliation for this mortar bomb blast in a village in the southeastern border region of Akcakale, Sanliurfa, which killed five Turks‘Abominable attack’: Turkey has launched artillery  strikes inside Syria in retaliation for this mortar bomb blast in a village in  the southeastern border region of Akcakale, Sanliurfa, which killed five  Turks

The action of Ankara threatens to drag the  West into a military conflict, which has so far, confined itself to financial  support for the rebels fighting Assad.

Earlier in the evening, Turkey, which has  been a Nato member since 1952, had consulted with the military alliance and the  United Nations about any response to the Syrian attack.

Mr Erdogan had warned Syria it would respond  to any further violations of its territory.

In a statement, he said: ‘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.

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

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoganSyria's President Bashar al-Assad

On the attack: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan  (left) says he will not ‘leave unanswered such kinds of provocation’ by  President Assad’s regime

During the conflict there have been several  incidents when Syrian jet fighters had encroached on Turkish  territory.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had spoken  by telephone with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the foreign ministers  of several U.N. 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.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc was also  quoted as saying that Syria must be made to account for the incident and  demanded a response under international law.

Man down: A police officer was injured when several Syrian shells landed inside Akcakale, in TurkeyMan down: A police officer was injured when Syrian  shells landed inside Akcakale, Turkey, on Wednesday

After a Syrian strike that damaged  homes and  offices in the southeastern town of Akcakale last week, the  Turks warned they  would take action if it happened again.

Troops and air defences were also beefed up  along its 560-mile border with  Syria earlier in the summer after a Turkish  reconnaissance jet was shot  down.

Residents in Akcakale, infuriated by the  increasing spillover of violence from Syria’s civil war, took the streets last  night to protest against the local authorities failure in protecting the border  community.

‘The latest mortar round hit right in the  middle of the neighbourhood. The wife and four children from the same family  died,’ said Ahmet Emin Meshurgul, the local head of the Turkish Red  Crescent.

‘People here are anxious, because we got hit  before. Security forces tried to convince people to empty the neighborhood near  the border, but now we’ve been hit right in the middle of the town,’ he  added.

Escalating violence: The new flashpoint emerged after at least 34 people were killed and dozens more injured in a series of explosions in Syria's second city, Aleppo (above)Escalating violence: The new flashpoint emerged after at  least 34 people were killed and dozens more injured in a series of explosions in  Syria’s second city, Aleppo (above)

Although the Turkish government  previously  had good relations with President Bashar Assad, it sided with the rebels  following the uprising and has allowed them to organize on  Turkish  soil.

The UN Secretary-General urged Turkey to keep  all channels of communication with Turkey open to avoid increased  tensions.

The new flashpoint emerged after at least 34  people were killed and dozens more injured in a series of explosions in the  centre of Syria’s second city, Aleppo.

A military officer’s club and a hotel being  used by the Syrian army bore the brunt of the suicide car bomb  attacks.

‘It was like a series of earthquakes,’ said  one shocked eyewitness. ‘It was terrifying, terrifying.’

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory  for Human Rights, most of the dead in Aleppo’s main Saadallah al-Jabari Square  were regime troops.

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Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict, Security

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