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by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos, Founder & Publisher
October 3, 2012 (TSR) – Turkey says its military has attacked targets inside neighboring Syria after mortar fire from Syria struck Akcakale, a town in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa, earlier in the day. Five people, a mother and four children, were killed and a dozen more injured in the shelling.
Turkey shelled Syria in retaliation for what it termed an attack “too far.”
“Our armed forces in the border region immediately retaliated against this heinous attack… by shelling targets spotted by radar,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The concerned parties are currently studying the origin of the fire against Turkey,” Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi said in a statement late on Wednesday.
“Syria offers it sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to our friends the Turkish people,” he added.
Though there has been no claim of responsibility for the shelling yet, with the foreign-backed insurgents fighting against the Syrian government are known to be active in the areas along the borders, the Turkish Prime Minister readily put the blame on Assad government.
Russia told NATO and world powers on Tuesday they should not seek ways to intervene in Syria’s civil war or set up buffer zones between rebels and government forces according to Reuters.
Moscow has always advocated a resolution to the Syrian crisis through diplomatic and political means, defying imposition of any political transition on the country.
In an interview with the Interfax news agency, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also called for restraint between NATO-member Turkey and Syria, following Ankara’s repeated complaints against shells and artilleries that landed on its territory.
“We believe both Syrian and Turkish authorities should exercise maximum restraint in this situation, taking into account the rising number of radicals among the Syrian opposition who can intentionally provoke conflicts on the border.”
Gatilov’s comments came after Erdogan recently criticized Russia for blocking efforts at the UN to exert pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said Moscow’s stance allowed massacres to continue in Syria.
“In our contacts with partners in NATO and in the region, we are calling on them not to seek pretexts for carrying out a military scenario or to introduce initiatives such as humanitarian corridors or buffer zones,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday.
The statement said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held telephone conversations with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and the joint UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi about the incident.
The meeting of the 28 member states was convened at NATO headquarters in Brussels and issued a statement later in the day,
“As stated on 26 June 2012, the Alliance continues to closely follow the situation in Syria. In view of the Syrian regime’s recent aggressive acts at NATO’s southeastern border, which are a flagrant breach of international law and a clear and present danger to the security of one of its Allies, the North Atlantic Council met today, within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, and discussed the continuous shelling of locations in Turkey adjacent to the Turkish-Syrian border by the Syrian regime forces.
The most recent shelling on 3 October 2012, which caused the death of five Turkish citizens and injured many, constitutes a cause of greatest concern for, and is strongly condemned by, all Allies.
In the spirit of indivisibility of security and solidarity deriving from the Washington Treaty, the Alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an Ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law.”
In August, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also rejected the idea of imposing no-fly zones over Syria.
Turkey reportedly continues to shell military positions on the Syrian soil despite the fact that Damascus said it respects the sovereignty of its neighbors and demanded its own sovereignty be respected in return according to Press TV.
Ban has reportedly called on Ankara to avoid tensions and keep all channels of communication open with Damascus.
Last week, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani acknowledged that Doha has “used all available means” to help the Syrian opposition.
Large amounts of money and weapons are being transferred from Lebanon to Syria by a network of Qatari intelligence and Lebanese agents supervised by British and French agents, the Lebanese daily newspaper Ad-Diyar reported on Wednesday.
A portion of the fund is believed to have been paid to the Lebanese Western-backed March 14 coalition and its supporters.
No one was killed in the attack, but injuries were reported in addition to property damage.