Turkish PM Warns Syria About Cross-Border Attacks

Posted October 5th, 2012 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is warning Syria against carrying out more cross-border attacks.

In a fiery speech Friday in Istanbul, Mr. Erdogan said the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should not test Turkey's ability to strike back.

His remarks came two days after a Syrian attack on the Turkish town of Akcakale killed five civilians, in one of the most serious cross-border incidents in Syria's 18-month uprising.

Following the attack, Turkish forces shelled Syrian targets and Turkey's parliament authorized military operations outside its borders if necessary.

Hugh Pope, a researcher with the International Crisis Group, which works to prevent conflicts worldwide, told VOA that Turkey will likely take serious military action only if Syria carries out more cross-border attacks.

“Obviously, Turkey wants to give a signal to Syria that any more infringements of its border towns from the shells that we saw this week would be punished severely. But I don't think that anybody wants to see an escalation on the border.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council has condemned an attack that killed dozens of people and wounded more than 100 others in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Four explosions on Wednesday ripped through a government-controlled section of Aleppo. Opposition groups said at least 48 people died, mostly security personnel, while Syrian state media put the death toll at 31.

A U.N. statement said a group affiliated with al-Qaida claimed responsibility for that attack.

Separately, activists reported that Syrian warplanes and artillery bombarded the city of Homs Friday, in the heaviest attack to hit that city in five months.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said shelling by the military elsewhere in Homs province Friday killed four civilians.

Fighting between regime forces and rebels was also reported in Deir Ezzor.