Situation worsened. Turkey conduct retaliation strikes on targets of Russia backed Assad's terrorists inside Syria
3 October 2012, 23:28
3 October 2012, 22:18
Retaliation follows mortar attack from Syrian territory that killed family of five in border town of Akcakale.
Turkish armed forces have launched artillery attacks against Assad regime in Syria in response to an Alawite mortar strike which killed five members of the same family in southeastern Turkey.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, said the attacks, carried out following radar tracking, were within the rules of engagement.
"There has been an attack on Turkey's mainland and its citizens lost their lives. There is definitely a response to it in international law ... We are not blinded by rage but we will protect our rights to the end in the face of such an attack on our soil that killed our people", said Bulent Arinc, Turkish deputy prime minister.
According to the head of the municipality of Akcakale, Abdulhakim Ayhan, an hour before hitting the house, 200 meters from the border another shell was exploded. It was found in the area of residential buildings of one of the local agricultural departments.
"Nobody was hurt. However, the result of the second shell- the one that hit a residential house- is dead and injured. They were all taken to the hospital", he said.
Local residents living near the border were in panic. Governor's office is considering whether to evacuate people from the border areas.
Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from Antakya, on the Turkish-Syrian border, said the deputy prime minister's mention of "certain responsibilities" contained within NATO treaty articles, could mean Ankara responsed without consulting international bodies first.
Ankara has agreed to convene an urgent meeting of NATO members in Brussels to discuss the shelling. The meeting of NATO ambassadors falls under Article 4 of the NATO charter which provides for consultations when a member state feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is under threat.
At the meeting, currently under way, Al Jazeera's correspondent said Turkey may argue it was "fully entitled to respond" in the manner in which it did.
Witnesses said policemen have also been injured in the shelling, which originated only kilometers away from the Syrian border.
Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, briefed Ban Ki-Moon, UN chief, on the situation shortly word of the attack reached Ankara.
Though this mortar attack marks the third instance of Alawite gunfire or artillery reaching Turkish territory, it is the "first time Turkey has actively become involved" in the situation.
Calling it a "very serious escalation", Simmons said the last time there was such tension between the neighboring countries was when a Turkish war plane was downed in June. However, Turkey did not retaliate in that instance.