5 killed as Syrian shell hits Turkish town
Mortars fired from Syria during the clashes between the military forces and rebels hit the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Akçakale town, killing at least five, wounding eight. The killings fuel already-high tension between Ankara and Damascus. REUTERS photo
Targets in Syria has been bombed in return to a deadly attack which killed 5 people in southeeastern Turkey, Prime Minister has said.
"These provacations against the safety of Turkey will not remain unanswered," the Prime Minister said. "We have responded to the attack, and bombed targets in Syria."
Five people were killed and at least eight were wounded Oct. 3 when at least three Syrian shells struck the Akçakale district of eastern Şanlıurfa. One of those killed was a 6-year-old child, according to officials.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu set up an urgent meeting with Foreign Ministry officials after the Syrian shells hit Turkey, and also called the special envoy of the UN and Arab League to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in order to inform them of what had happened. The minister also held an urgent meeting with ministry officials, canceling his other meetings to follow up on the developments.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on June 26, after Syria shot down a Turkish plane, that Turkey had changed its military rules of engagement, and would treat any military approach from Syria as a threat. Officials, however, have been declining to elaborate on the content of the changes to the policy since then.
The inhabitants of Akçakale have been staging an “uprising” since the incident, seeing it as a final straw, said Abdülhakim Ayhan, Akçakale’s mayor. A group of residents of Akçakale marched to the District Governor’s Office to protest the incidents, and the governor left his office in an armored vehicle, daily Hürriyet reported.
“The Syrian forces fired at the rebels and hit our town,” mayor Ayhan said, speaking to private broadcaster CNN Türk. A corresponden who had just come from the region said the shell must have belonged to the Syrian army, because the Syrian rebels do not have such weapons.
Five people, including four children and a woman, were killed, and eight were wounded when a Syrian mortar exploded in the Akçakale district of Şanlıurfa, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Şanlıurfa Deputy Halil Özcan told CNN Türk. The shell reportedly struck a house where the children and woman were killed.
The state of health of two of the wounded was in critical condition, Labor Minister Faruk Çelik, who represents Şanlıurfa in Parliament, said. The wounded were being transferred to hospitals.
At least three shells hit three different points in Akçakale, another Turkish offical said. “More serious steps could be taken by the Turkish government to protect its citizens after these events,” he said.
There have been heavy clashes between Syrian army forces and rebels for the past 20 days along Turkey’s border with Syria. Both Ayhan and Halil Özcan said the residents of Akçakale have been living in fear for many days now, since a mortar struck the town on Sept. 28. Turkey sent a diplomatic note to Syria regarding that strike.
“No one should doubt Turkey’s defense capabilities,” Davutoğlu said following the Sept. 28 mortar strike.
Deputy Parliament Speaker Mehmet Sağlam has condemned Syria in the name of the Turkish Parliament, and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced that it will send a committee to Akçakale, led by the vice president of the party, Sezgin Tanrıkulu.
EU rebuffed over refugees
Ankara - Hürriyet Daily News
The European Commission (EC) has lodged a complaint regarding nearly 300 Syrian refugees who have allegedly crossed into Greece via Turkey, asking Ankara to stop refugees from crossing its borders illegally. In response Turkey’s foreign minister rebuffed the EC, citing the body’s ignorance of the burden the nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey are placing on the country.
European Commission officials brought the refugee issue to the agenda in a technical level meeting with their Turkish counterparts in Brussels. The EC said there had recently been an increase in the number of Syrian refugees illegally entering Greece. After the meeting, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu raised the issue in a meeting with EU foreign affairs and security policy chief Catherine Ashton in New York, in which he conveyed Turkey’s dismay over the EC’s making an issue of “300 Syrian refugees”at a time when the country is dealing with almost 100,000 Syrian refugees on its territory.
Turkey had previously said it is only capable of providing refuge for 100,000 Syrians.
New support from the U.K. will provide 10,000 Syrian refugees who have escaped ongoing fighting with essential supplies to cope with the freezing Turkish winter, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced yesterday. Clegg pledged the additional $1,6 million in humanitarian support during a meeting with the Turkish Red Crescent.