Turkey strikes back at Syria, warns of war
Turkey returned fire after Syrian mortar bombs landed in a field in its south on Saturday, a day after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned Syria that Turkey would not shy away from war if provoked.
It was the fourth day of retaliation for firing by Syrian forces that killed five Turkish civilians on Wednesday.
The exchanges are the most serious cross-border violence in Syria's conflict, which began as a democracy uprising but has evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones. They highlight how the crisis could destabilize the region.
NATO member Turkey was once an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad but turned against him as a result of his violent response to an uprising in which, according to the United Nations, more than 30,000 people have died.
Turkey has nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps on its territory, has allowed rebel leaders sanctuary and has led calls for Assad to quit. Its armed forces are far larger than Syria's.
Erdogan said on Friday that his country did not want war but warned Syria not to make a “fatal mistake” by testing its resolve. Damascus has said its fire hit Turkey accidentally.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday that parliament's authorization of possible cross-border military action was designed as a deterrent.
“From now on, if there is an attack on Turkey it will be silenced,” he told state broadcaster TRT.
Western powers have backed fellow NATO member Turkey over Syria but have shown little appetite for the kind of intervention that helped topple Libya's Muammar Gaddafi. Turkish calls for a safe zone in Syria would require a no-fly zone that NATO states are unwilling to police.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Pens get physical, trade Goc for Blues’ Lapierre
- Pirates trade Snider to Orioles for minor league pitcher
- Now a Patriot, RB Blount’s thrilled to have moved on from Steelers
- Medicare payments to tie doctor, hospital payments to quality rather than volume of care
- No cross-checking here: Penguins misspell ‘Sidney’
- Letang produces 5 assists in return as Penguins defeat Jets, 5-3
- Penn Hills water main break creates car-swallowing sinkhole
- Winfield man is one of a few to attend all 49 Super Bowl games
- Supporters optimistic about passage of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania
- Wilkinsburg man killed in his apartment
- Pennsylvania shale gas producers received hundreds of environmental citations in 4 years, PennEnvironment says