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.
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.
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...
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)