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Turkey sends howitzers & jets next to Syrian border (WN)
Turkey sends howitzers & jets next to Syrian border (WN)

Turkey sends Jets near Syria

(DP-News - agencies)
Turkey\Syria- Twenty-five Turkish jets have been deployed to military base in Diyarbakır, along with another convoy of military vehicles carrying howitzers also headed toward the border town of Reyhanlı in Hatay province for additional precautions next to Turkish borders with Syria.

The Turkish Dogan agency quoted unidentified military sources as saying that at least 25 additional F-16 fighter jets were deployed at Turkey's Diyarbakir air base in the southeast late Monday.

Reports in Ankara on Tuesday said Turkey's top military commander General Necdet Ozel had inspected troops in southeastern Hatay province near the Syrian border, a day after a Syrian shell landed in a nearby town.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish military launched a retaliatory strike on Syria, after a mortar fired from Syrian soil landed in the countryside of Hatay, in what was the sixth consecutive day of Turkish retaliation.

The round from Syria landed 150-200 meters within Turkey’s border in the district of Hacıpaşa at about 3 p.m., a Turkish official told Reuters. No one was wounded in the incident. Since last week, the Turkish military has responded whenever Syrian shells have breached its territory. The Turkish Parliament has also given the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.

“To date six mortar shells have fallen within the borders of Hatay. All of the shells fell in uninhabited parts of the city,” Hatay Gov. Celalettin Lekesiz said before the latest mortar strike, urging the public to remain calm. In another border town, Akçakale, where a Syrian shell killed five civilians last week, schools have still not reopened due to security concerns.

The Turkish parliament on Thursday gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.

Officials said Monday that the Syrian conflict was not on the defence ministers' agenda but that the issue was likely to be discussed informally.

Turkey as an alliance member has the right to invoke military help in response to an attack on its territory under Article V of NATO's constitution but has so far invoked only Article IV, which involves consultations.

Turkey and Syria have exchanged mortar and cannon fire across their common border since errant Syrian shells killed five Turkish civilians last week. The border region has been the scene of bloody clashed between Syrian government forces and rebel militants who have used safe havens within Turkey.

Syria says it is not seeking any escalation of violence with Turkey.
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