Turkish artillery was fired at Syria for a fifth day in a row yesterday, minutes after a Syrian shell landed in Akcakale province of Sanl?urfa. The shell near a Turkish Grain Board (TMO) grain elevator just meters away from the Syrian border, causing no death or injury.
Turkish troops immediately retaliated against Syrian troops and hit an ammunition depot belonging to the Syrian army on the other side of the border. Eyewitnesses said they saw a fire break out. The town mayor, Abdulhakim Ayhan, confirmed that Turkish artillery immediately returned fire. He said shrapnel from the Syrian mortar caused some damage to a grain depot but no one was hurt by the shelling.
Mortar shelling intensified yesterday in Tel Abyad, which was recently seized by Syrian rebels. Several shelled mortars were heard from Akcakale. Police told residents who live close to the border fence to evacuate their houses.
Speaking at the opening of the Atakoy Advanced Biological Purification Facility in Istanbul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) for its attitude on the Syria motion. “You have to be prepared as if you are about to be in a war at any time.
If you cannot be prepared, you cannot call yourself a powerful country and powerful nation.”
In the end we did as was required. Nobody should dare to test our determination and sensitivity on this subject. The U.S. also evaluated the recent escalation. The continued exchange of artillery fire between Syria and Turkey raises additional concerns that the conflict may escalate and spread to neighboring countries, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said, adding that Washington is using its diplomatic channels to relay worries.