President Abdullah Gul warned again on Monday against a spillover of the Syrian conflict into Turkey as his country’s military struck back at Syrian military positions after a shell fired by the neighboring country landed in a Turkish border area, a Turkish official told AFP.
Turkey retaliated in kind after the Syrian shell landed in Altinozu district, in southeastern Hatay province, at around 1200 GMT, said the official speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Turkish military retaliates immediately after every single Syrian shell,” said the official. “We have anti-aircraft batteries pounding Syrian targets.”
Earlier, Hatay provincial governor Celalettin Lekesiz said a total of six Syrian shells had hit the province so far, without any casualties.
It was not immediately clear if the governor’s figures included the latest shelling.
Shells which killed five civilians on Wednesday at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province sparked Turkish retaliatory fire which has been repeated with every new Syrian shell that lands across the border as Bashar al-Assad's regime battles rebel fighters.
Wednesday’s incident was the most serious between Damascus and Ankara since Syrian anti-aircraft fire brought down a Turkish fighter jet in June, and renewed fears of a broader conflict.
President Gul warned again against a spillover of the Syrian conflict into Turkey.
“Our government is in constant touch with our General Staff in this process,” Gul was quoted as saying by Anatolia, the state news agency.
“Whatever is necessary is being done as you already see, and will continue to be done,” said the president, without elaborating.
The Turkish parliament on Thursday gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.
Also Thursday the U.N. Security Council on strongly condemned cross-border shelling by Syria and called for restraint between the two neighbors.