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Turkey and Syria Exchange Fire



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After mortar fire from Syrian territory killed five Turkish civilians, Turkey has retaliated with artillery fire of its own. The Times:

The Turkish prime minister announced on Wednesday night that Turkey had fired artillery at targets in Syria, in retaliation for Syrian mortar fire that fell in a Turkish border town and killed five Turkish civilians. It was the first instance of significant fighting across the Turkish-Syrian border since the Syrian uprising began last year, and raised the prospect of greater involvement 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,” said a written 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 on the issue Wednesday. Before firing into Syria, Turkey contacted the United Nations and NATO to protest the killings and express its “deepest concern.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was “outraged” by the mortar attack in Turkey.

It’s unclear whether the mortar fire came from the Syrian government or Syrian rebels (who have long had a presence across the border in Turkey). A U.S. defense official has told CNN that there’s “nothing to suggest it’s going to become a broader conflict,” but NATO is convening presently to assess the situation.



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