Dozens of Syrians crossed a narrow river marking the border with Turkey on Thursday (October 11) as they fled the fighting in Azmarin and surrounding villages.
Residents from the Turkish village of Hacipasa helped pull the fleeing families across in small metal boats.
Turkey’s armed forces have bolstered their presence along the 900-km border and have been responding over the past week to gunfire and shelling from northern Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have been battling rebels who control swathes of territory.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday (October 9) the military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkey. He gave no further details, but a senior U.S. defense official said NATO would likely react if Turkey made a request for assistance.
It is not clear whether the shells that have hit Turkish territory were aimed to strike there or were due to Syrian troops overshooting as they attacked rebel positions. Turkey has provided sanctuary for rebel officers and fighters.