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The Turkish military has just struck targets in Syria hours ago in the most serious international escalation in the 19 month old Syrian conflict. Turkey said it was striking back after shells from Syria killed at least 5 Turkish civilians. Al Jazeera English is reporting:
Turkish military strikes targets inside Syria

Retaliation follows mortar attack from Syrian territory that killed family of five in border town of Akcakale.
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2012 21:51

Turkish armed forces have launched artillery attacks against Syria in response to a mortar attack which killed five members of the same family in southeastern Turkey.

In a statement on Wednesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, said the attacks, carried out following radar tracking, were within the rules of engagement.

Separately, Bulent Arinc, deputy prime minister, said: "There has been an attack on Turkey's mainland and its citizens lost their lives. There is definitely a response to it in international law ... We are not blinded by rage but we will protect our rights to the end in the face of such an attack on our soil that killed our people

Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from Antakya on the Turkish-Syrian border, said Arinc's mention of "certain responsibilities" contained within NATO treaty articles, could mean that Turkey responded without consulting international bodies first.

Western officials, from Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary-general, to Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state,  quickly condemned the attack, which struck a house in the border town of Akcakale.

US 'outraged'

Clinton said the White House was "outraged" by the "very dangerous situation" created by the attack.

Turkey has agreed to convene an urgent meeting of NATO members in Brussels to discuss the shelling.

The meeting of NATO ambassadors falls under Article 4 of the NATO charter which provides for consultations when a member state feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is under threat.

At the meeting, currently under way, Al Jazeera's Simmon said Turkey may argue it was "fully entitled to respond" in the manner in which it did.

Witnesses said policemen have also been injured in the shelling, which originated only kilometres away from the Syrian border.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, briefed Ban Ki-Moon, UN chief, on the situation shortly word of the attack reached Ankara.

Though this the mortar attack marks the third instance of Syrian gunfire or artillery reaching Turkish territory, it is the "first time Turkey has actively become involved" in the situation, our correspondent said.

Calling it a "very serious escalation", he said the last time there was such tension between the neighbouring countries was when a Turkish war plane was downed in June.

However, Turkey did not retaliate in that instance. More...

More, Later...

Romandie is reporting the the Assad regime has opened an inquiry to figure out where their mortar shells came from. This is the Google Translates version:

Syria investigate the origin of the fire at the Turkish border

DAMASCUS - Syria has opened an investigation into the origin of a cross-border shelling that killed five Turkish territory, announced Wednesday the Syrian Minister of Information, Omran Zoabi, in a statement quoted by television Syria's official.

The parties are currently investigating the origin of fire against Turkey, said the minister. Syria expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends, the Turkish people, he said.

Turkey has responded to the shot came from Syrian territory. NATO, which Turkey is a member, held in the evening in Brussels for an emergency meeting at the request of Ankara, and its support for Turkey.

Turkish-Syrian border is long, and Syria requires cooperation to control the border, said the Syrian Minister of Information.

Mr Zoabi reiterated statements of Damascus that Syria supported by fighting terrorists abroad. Syria has repeatedly accused Ankara train and finance groups of armed opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

There are foreign groups who pose a danger not only to the Syrian national security, but also to regional security, said the Syrian minister.

Without formally accusing the rebels of shelling in Turkish territory, Mr Zoabi said: We call that the border is controlled and that the rebels are prevented from (the) cross.

(© AFP / October 4, 2012 0:04)

8:11 PM PT: Like everyone else, I took a break to watch the debate, and on that subject, I thought that it would have been good if someone had pointed out that if Obama looked a little tired and off his game, it may be because he is POTUS and as such he probably had a planned afternoon of debate prep interrupted by this small matter of hostilities breaking out between Syria and Turkey, which meant, at a minimum, he needed to consult on an emergency NATO meeting and an emergency UN meeting. Nobody at ABC News connected those dots. I don't know about other commentators.

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
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BREAKING: 305 Syrians slaughtered in bloodiest day yet
Syria: Secret source of rebel arms revealed
BREAKING: Amnesty on Syria - Assad Regime guilty on indiscriminate slaughter
Syrian Revolution Digest shows "disgusting" photos!
Syria: The Killing Field the World is Learning to Live With
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
LIVE VIDEO: “World Silence is Killing #Syria” Rally in #DC
Free #Syria responds to Robert Fisk
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
#Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
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Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
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Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
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UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
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no blood for oil
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Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
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BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
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