Turkey protests Syria after mortar bomb hits border town

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said Turkey sent a formal note of protest to Syria after a mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in the Turkish border town of Akçakale, damaging homes and workplaces.

Wrapping up his talks in New York on Saturday after attending the UN General Assembly, Davutoğlu told reporters that Ankara had also reported the incident to the UN and NATO.

“I would like the public to know that if such violations of our border continue we are reserving the right to take action. No worries on that. Turkey has the power to control all the activities along its borders and to take necessary precautions,” Davutoğlu stated.

The Syrian mortar bomb landed in Akçakale on Friday as fighting raged between the opposition and Syrian regime forces on the Syrian side of the border.

Clashes erupted on Sept. 18 when opposition forces launched an attack on the Syrian forces to seize the Tal Abyad border crossing. Stray bullets fired from a Syrian border post hit houses in Akçakale, wounding three civilians and prompting local authorities to temporarily close schools. Clashes on the Syrian side of the border still continue as the Syrian forces reportedly try to regain control of the Tal Abyad border gate.

Turkey is estimated to have taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Syria, and is playing host to a number of Syrian opposition figures.

In April, Turkey also officially reported an incident to the UN in which at least five people, including two Turkish civil servants, were wounded when cross-border gunfire hit a Syrian refugee camp in Kilis, further west along the frontier.

Turkey beefed up its troop presence and air defenses along its 900-kilometer border after Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet in June.

At the time, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Turkish military’s rules of engagement had been changed and that any Syrian element approaching Turkey’s border and deemed a threat would be treated as a military target.

Source: Sunday’s Zaman

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