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Common Dreams

Turkey Fires Artillery at Syria in Retaliation for Civilian Deaths

Raises prospect of greater NATO action against Syria

by
Common Dreams staff

Turkish police officers try to help a wounded comrade after a mortar bomb landed from Syria in the border village of Akcakale, southeastern Sanliurfa province, October 3, 2012. The mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in a residential district of the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale on Wednesday, killing a woman and four children from the same family and wounding at least eight other people. A Reuters witness saw three police officers among the wounded being taken to hospital. (Rauf Maltas/Anadolu Agency)

Turkey announced Wednesday night that they had fired artillery at targets in Syria, in retaliation for Syrian mortar fire that fell in a Turkish border town Wednesday morning killing five Turkish civilians - a mother and four children.

Turkey's military retaliation raised the prospects of greater involvement against Syria by the NATO alliance, to which Turkey belongs.

“This atrocious attack was immediately responded to adequately by our armed forces in the border region, in accordance with rules of engagement,” a statement from the office of the prime minister, carried by the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency. “Targets were shelled in locations identified by radar.”

“Turkey, in accordance with the rules of engagement and international law, will never leave such provocations by the Syrian regime against our national security unrequited,” the statement added.

NATO said it would convene an urgent meeting of ministers Wednesday night. Earlier, Turkey protested the killings to the United Nations and NATO. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was “outraged” by the mortar attack in Turkey.

Reuters reported:

A mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in a residential district of the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale on 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.
 

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