Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Turkey strikes targets in Syria in retaliation for shelling deaths

Posted by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM
  • 12 Replies

Turkey fired on Syrian government targets in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town in which five civilians were killed Wednesday, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office.

The town of Akcakale "was hit by artillery fire belonging to the Syrian regime forces," a statement from Erdogan's office said, in the first clear assertion of blame for the shelling.

"Our armed forces on the border responded immediately to this atrocious attack within the rules of engagement, and points in Syria determined by radar were hit with artillery fire," it said. "Turkey, within the confines of the rules of engagement and international law, will never leave these types of provocations aimed at our national security unanswered."

Syrian refugees in Turkey: Police are forcing us from homes

The retaliatory artillery fire marks a significant increase in tension between the two countries, and CNN affiliate CNN Turk reported that witnesses observed intermittent artillery fire from Turkey into Syria continuing into the early hours Thursday.

Syrian authorities are "offering sincerest condolences on behalf of the Syrian government to the family of the deceased and the Turkish people" and are investigating the source of the gunfire, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

"In case of border incidents that occur between any two neighboring countries, countries and governments must act wisely, rationally and responsibly, particularly since there's a special condition on the Syrian-Turkish borders in terms of the presence of undisciplined terrorist groups spread across the borders who have varying agendas and identities," said Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi.

Opposition groups in Syria said artillery fire from Turkey fell on a government military center near Tal Abyad in northern Syria's Raqqa province. Turkish military reinforcements are deployed near the border, they added.

The artillery shell fired into Turkey came from Tal Abyad, according to Turkey's semiofficial Anadolu news agency.

The North Atlantic Council, NATO's most senior political governing body, said it stands by Turkey.

The alliance "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," the council said after an emergency meeting. The Syrian government has a recent pattern of "aggressive attacks" at NATO's southeastern border, it said.

Akcakale Mayor Abdulhakim Ayhan said earlier that three children, their mother and a female neighbor died when a house was hit. Two police officers were among those hurt, he said.

Nine people were injured when the shell landed on the town in Sanliurfa province, near the Syrian border, the Turkish prime minister's statement said.

Relations between Turkey and Syria were already under strain over Damascus' response to an 18-month-long uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Civil war in Syria

A senior U.S. defense official said the Pentagon is watching the situation with some degree of concern, "but at this point, there's nothing to suggest it's going to become a broader conflict."

The official said the reciprocal fire appeared to be a smaller-scale border skirmish rather than a large-scale aerial bombardment.

"We think this is Turkey basically saying, 'Don't mess with us. Whatever is going on inside Syria, don't mess with us,'" the official told CNN.

Both nations would have an interest in not allowing the conflict to escalate, according to the official.

"In some ways, Turkey would have more to lose in that kind of fight than Syria. They've already got a potential refugee problem coming from Syria, and a fight would only make that worse, the official said, adding that "Syria has so many problems right now, the last thing the government needs is to add another."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to express his government's "deepest concern" about the shelling, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Before launching its military strike against Syrian targets Wednesday, Turkey reached out to NATO and U.N. chiefs.

Ban issued a statement expressing condolences to the shelling victims in Turkey. He called on Syria to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbors.

The U.N. Security Council privately discussed the situation.

Syria's internally displaced languish in squalor at Turkish border

"The secretary-general has repeatedly warned that the ongoing militarization of the conflict in Syria is leading to tragic results for the Syrian people," Ban said. "Today's incidents, where firing from Syria struck a Turkish town, again demonstrated how Syria's conflict is threatening not only the security of the Syrian people but increasingly causing harm to its neighbors."

Musa Ozer, who lives next to the house where the artillery shell landed, was crying as he spoke on the phone with CNN in the aftermath of the attack.

"The bomb fell on us. My head's really not in the right place right now," he said. "My uncle was injured and his wife died. What am I to make of this?"

Ayhan said the shell landed on one house but debris from the impact scattered across a wider area, leading to the high number of injuries.

He also voiced the concern felt by residents of the southeastern town. "The people of Akcakale are rising up against this. They live in fear," he told CNN Turk. The mayor said the shell that caused the deaths was the second to land Wednesday on Akcakale.

Salih Aydogdu, a local neighborhood mayor, called for authorities to act to prevent such incidents.

"Over the last month, we've had these types of incident five or six times. This is a small place; every time it happens, we can hear it. We are right on the border with Syria," he said. "The people of Akcakale are upset. We want the governor and the police to take precautions. This was Turkey's most peaceful and tranquil area. Now we have neither peace nor tranquility."

For the past two weeks, schools have been closed in the town, and the teachers have left, he added.

Akcakale has been rocked by previous fighting just across the border in Syria.

Last month, Turkish residents watched as Syrian shells crashed into Syrian territory, barely a stone's throw away from the Turkish border fence.

The close artillery barrage forced Turkish authorities to temporarily shut schools in Akcakale and close off roads leading to the Syrian border.

Rebel leadership announces move from Turkey to Syria

Only two years ago, Syria and Turkey enjoyed cozy bilateral relations. The neighbors had instituted visa-free travel for their citizens, and cross-border trade was booming.

Diplomatic relations ruptured, however, months after the Syrian uprising began. Last March, Turkey shuttered its embassy in Damascus and the Syrian government declared Turkey's ambassador, Omer Onhon, persona non grata.

Erdogan has repeatedly denounced Syrian President al-Assad, publicly calling on him to step down after accusing him of massacring his own people. The Syrian government, meanwhile, has accused Turkey of arming and funding Syrian rebels.

CNN journalists have witnessed light weapons in the form of assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns coming from Turkey to Syrian rebels.

In addition, Turkey is currently hosting more than 93,000 Syrian refugees in camps. Turkish officials estimate another 40,000 to 50,000 unofficial refugees live in Turkey outside refugee camps.

This is not the first deadly cross-border incident between the two neighbors.

On Tuesday, Turkish officials announced at least two suspected Kurdish fighters were killed after a clash broke out along the border in Turkey's Mardin province.

In June, the Syrian government announced it had shot down a Turkish military reconnaissance jet after it crossed into Syrian airspace.

Two Turkish pilots were killed in the incident. The Turkish government continues to insist the jet was shot down by a surface-to-air missile after it left Syrian airspace -- claims that the Syrian government denies.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/03/world/europe/turkey-syria-tension/index.html

by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
eema.gray
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Syria worries me far more than any of the other rumblings in the Middle East and more than the conflicts in Asia (China/Japan/Taiwan, N. Korea).  When the Archduke was asassinated, nobody thought that a full scale world war would break out within months but it did.  When rebellion broke out in Sryia early this year, most of the world thought it was just a late response to Arab Spring and that either the rebels would suceed or be crushed.  Turkey's military responses extend Syria's woes into a small regional conflagration.  Who knows where it will end.  :-(

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:07 AM

this is not good at all. Turkey is one of our allies, whether the American people believe they should be or not is not relevant. We have military bases in Turkey and we will be obligated to defend the Nation of Turkey if syria continues their aggression across the border.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Actually, it's a toss up for me between Syria and N. Korea,

Quoting eema.gray:

Syria worries me far more than any of the other rumblings in the Middle East and more than the conflicts in Asia (China/Japan/Taiwan, N. Korea).  When the Archduke was asassinated, nobody thought that a full scale world war would break out within months but it did.  When rebellion broke out in Sryia early this year, most of the world thought it was just a late response to Arab Spring and that either the rebels would suceed or be crushed.  Turkey's military responses extend Syria's woes into a small regional conflagration.  Who knows where it will end.  :-(


yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:09 AM

 Turkey warned them.  A nation has the right to protect themselves.

eema.gray
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:11 AM
1 mom liked this

This is a highly pertinent point and the reason why I initially cited WWI; part of the reason that the archduke's asassination turned so deadly was because of a twisted web of alliances with other nations and empires.  :-(

Quoting mikiemom:

this is not good at all. Turkey is one of our allies, whether the American people believe they should be or not is not relevant. We have military bases in Turkey and we will be obligated to defend the Nation of Turkey if syria continues their aggression across the border.


"I am only one, but I am still one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." ~~ Edward Everett Hale 1822-1909
eema.gray
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Naturally.  

The potential problem is that Turkey could turn to us and say, "U.S., you're allies with us.  You have military assets stationed here.  You need to come help us out and make sure Syria keeps their conflict on their side of the border."  Which means that we are pretty much obligated to help them.  Which means that Syria's allies come to her aid because of "foreign" intervention on the other side, etc etc and so forth.  It's not impossible.  Major wars have started because of one nation insisting another nation hold to her treaty agreements.  :-(

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Turkey warned them.  A nation has the right to protect themselves.


"I am only one, but I am still one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." ~~ Edward Everett Hale 1822-1909
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Yep, and the US has bases in Turkey, personnel in Turkey and Turkey is one of our main allies, we will be obligated to help defend turkey in the event that Syria decides to get any more aggressive.

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Turkey warned them.  A nation has the right to protect themselves.


yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:27 AM

 Oh, I expect if there is an all out conflict the US will aid Turkey....just as we would any of our allies.  A couple of strikes by our Air Force might be enough to settle things down though..if they strike the right targets.

I hate to see us in another conflict though....we won't have a choice though..we are obligated to our allies.

LuvmyAiden
by on Oct. 4, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Honestly as many stupid things as we have done that have served no purpose, I think intervening in Syria is a have to at this point. Thank god Turkey has had enough. The humanitarian situation in Syria cannot continue. When Syrian snipers are killing children and bombs are being dropped on innocents it is time for someone to step up.

smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Oct. 4, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Syria is backed by China and Russia. A couple US air strikes wouldn't be enough or even close to enough. 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Oh, I expect if there is an all out conflict the US will aid Turkey....just as we would any of our allies.  A couple of strikes by our Air Force might be enough to settle things down though..if they strike the right targets.

I hate to see us in another conflict though....we won't have a choice though..we are obligated to our allies.


Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN