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Syrian-Turkish border (Fr24)
Syrian-Turkish border (Fr24)

Turkey, Syria trade Fire, as Tension Mounts

(DP-News - agencies)
Turkey/Syria- Turkish artillery was fired at Syria for a fifth day in a row Sunday, minutes after a Syrian shell landed in Akçakale province of Şanlıurfa. The shell near a Turkish Grain Board (TMO) grain elevator just meters away from the Syrian border, causing no death or injury.

Turkey and Syria fired artillery and mortars across their volatile border for a fifth consecutive day on Sunday, in one of the most serious and prolonged flare-ups of violence along the frontier.

The exchange of fire stoked fears that Syria’s civil war will escalate into a regional conflagration drawing in NATO member Turkey, once an ally of President Bashar al-Assad but now a key supporter of the rebels fighting to topple him.

The exchanges are the most serious cross-border violence in Syria’s conflict, which began as pro-democracy protests, but has evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated his warning to Syria that Ankara will not shy away from war if it continues to be provoked.

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had warned on Saturday that Ankara would respond forcefully to each errant Syrian shell that lands on Turkish soil.

Ankara’s warning was coupled by an apparent diplomatic push by the Turkish leadership to promote Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa as a possible figure to head a transitional administration to end the conflict in the country.

Meanwhile, there was little sign that the exchange of fire near the border, although still at a fairly low level, was ebbing. It began five days ago when a Syrian shell killed five civilians in a Turkish border town. Turkey’s parliament subsequently approved a bill that would allow cross border military operations there.

Damascus offered a rare apology, but shells and mortar rounds continue to fly into Turkish territory.

The Anadolu Agency reported that Assad’s forces have been shelling the town of Tal Abyad, just across from Akcakale, which is controlled by Syrian rebels.

Turkey’s private Dogan news agency reported that a six-vehicle military convoy, including two carrying howitzers, was seen traveling from the city of Gaziantep toward the Syrian border.

Inside Syria, forces loyal to President al-Assad clashed with rebels across the country, from the northern city of Aleppo to the southern border with Jordan, killing according to activist groups at least 90 people across the country. Activists said opposition fighters were strengthening their hold over the village off Khirbet al-Jouz, in the northern province of Idlib, which borders Turkey and where violent clashes broke out a day earlier.

The Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency said Sunday that the rebels had regained full control of Khirbet al-Jouz. It said the Syrian army was forced to ‘‘pull back’’ following an ‘‘offensive’’ by some 700 rebels.

It also reported that President al-Assad’s troops were forced to retreat some 20 kilometers (12 miles) toward the town of Jisr al-Shughour. It said rebels in Khirbet al-Jouz celebrated their victory by firing their weapons into the air.
Visitors Comments          Number of Comments (1)
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al-queda
Phillip            10/9/2012 6:04:11 AM
I'm no fan of President Assad, but what a set up!If NATO & US backed anti-Syrian terrorists would stop shelling Turkey - while our underwear is being searched for terrorists at the airport - this situation might not have escalated.It has already been openly admitted that the United States is backing up Al-Quada in at least this theater alone. London Guardian says Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria & French Surgeon: Half of Rebels In Syria Are Al-Qaeda Terrorists
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