Turkey fires back at Syria for 4th day in a row

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Registered: 04-07-2002
Turkey fires back at Syria for 4th day in a row
Sun, 10-07-2012 - 1:41pm
Could this be why our President seemed distracted during the debate?  He does have to run our country at the same time!


Turkey fires back at Syria for 4th day in a row

The continuing exchange of artillery fire between Turkey and Syria have raised fears of a regional conflict.


The New York Times


BEIRUT — Turkey fired artillery into Syria for a fourth consecutive day Saturday after more Syrian mortar shells landed on the Turkish side of the increasingly tense border.

The exchanges — and Turkey's recent warnings to Syria that it would defend itself — have raised fears of regional conflict. While stray shells and bullets from the Syrian conflict have often landed in Lebanon and Turkey, for the first time a Syrian shell killed five Turkish civilians last week, prompting Turkey's response.

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cautioned Syrian officials not to test Turkey's "limits and determination" and said he would not tolerate such acts.

Saturday's cross-border exchanges began when two mortar shells fired from Syria landed in rural areas near the Turkish village of Guvecci, prompting Turkish return fire, Turkey's media reported.

Later Saturday, a third shell hit near another village in Turkey's Hatay province and Turkish troops fired back, the office of the provincial governor said.

No deaths were reported.

The continued exchange of artillery fire between the two nations raises additional concerns the conflict may spread to neighboring countries, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Saturday.

Panetta, who is in Peru, said the U.S. is using its diplomatic channels to relay worries about the fighting in the hopes it will not broaden.

Syria and Turkey, meanwhile, denied Syria had pulled its forces back 6 miles from the border to avoid provoking Turkey, as Turkish news media had reported Friday. A Turkish government official dismissed the reports as unreliable.

Rebel activity was heightened along the border area in Syria's Idlib province on Saturday. Anti-government activists said rebels had seized the Syrian village of Khirbet al-Jouz, not far from Guvecci; another Turkish official confirmed in an interview that rebels had taken control in the area.

Also, rebels claimed to have seized a checkpoint at Darkush, also in the border region.