Human Events Blog

Oh, by the way, Turkey and Syria are teetering on the brink of war

On Wednesday, Bashar Assad’s forces got a little carried away trying to suppress the uprising against his regime, and sent a volley of artillery shells flying into Turkey.  “The shells exploded after being fired into Akcakale from Tall al-Abyad in Syria, where forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are trying to put down an 18-month-old insurgency,” reports the BBC.  “The dead are said to include a woman and her three children.  Nine other people were wounded.”

It wasn’t the first time errant Syrian shells have landed in Turkish territory, but this was “believed to be only the second time that people have died as a result.”  The previous incident involved two Syrian nationals killed by stray bullets on Turkish soil.

Turkey referred this incident to NATO and the United Nations.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “we are outraged that the Syrians have been shooting across the border. We are very regretful about the loss of life that has occurred on the Turkish side.”

NATO condemned the incident, and said it has “no intention of intervening in Syria, but stands ready to defend Turkey if necessary.”

It looks like it might be necessary, because Reuters just reported that “Turkey says it has struck targets in Syria in response to a mortar strike across the border,” according to the Turkish Prime Minister’s office.  NATO is said to be following the situation “closely and with great concern.”

Update: A caveat worth bearing in mind: reports thus far have treated the artillery fire that hit Turkey as originating from Syrian government forces, and it seems as if the Turks see it that way, but it’s possible they came from the opposition.

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