Sunday, October 7, 2012

Syria-s Business: Syrian Troops Launch Mortars Against Turkish Border Town; NATO Member Turkey Responds With Artillery

Immediate aftermath of Syrian mortars being fired on the Turkish border town of Akçakale. Five civilians were reportedly killed in the barrage and the Turkish military returned fire with heavy artillery
A barrage of mortar fire, reportedly launched by Syrian troops loyal to the Bashr Al Assad regime, killed 5 civilians and wounded another 12 in a southeastern Turkish border town earlier this week.
A mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in a residential district of the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale, killing a woman and four children from the same family and wounding at least eight other people.

Footage taken shortly after the attack shows how 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.
Turkey's military responded to the attack by directing artillery fire on the Syrian town of Tal Abyad which was reportedly controlled by forces loyal to Bashr Al Assad. State and privately run media sources in Turkey report that a lengthy convoy of armored personnel carriers and artillery was enroute to the Akçakale district of Şanlıurfa province.

The two sides have been trading fire since the October 3rd attack. Over the weekend, an AP reporter observed a mortar round fired from Syria land 200m inside Turkish territory, although there were no reports of additional injuries.

Earlier this year, Syria shot down a Turkish Air Force jet over the Mediterrenian Sea. Syrian officials defended their actions, claiming they had assumed it was an Israeli aircraft that had violated their airspace. A report from Dubai-based Al Arabia network alleges that the pilots had bailed out and were captured by Syrian forces, but were subsequently ordered executed on direct orders from Damascus.

The cross border conflict could have broader repurcussions as an attack on the sovereign territory of one NATO member means they can counterattack with the full military backing of NATO.

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