Erdogan Says Syria Will 'Pay Price' if It Strikes Again
[An Nahar] Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan again warned Syria on Friday it would pay a big price for further attacks, two days after a deadly cross-border shelling.
Erdogan reiterated that Turkey does not want war but is ready to act if threatened by the regime of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Oppressor of the Syrians and the Lebs...
, which has been at war with rebels since early last year.
"I am calling once more on the Assad regime and its supporters: Don't dare to test Turkey's patience," Erdogan told a large crowd of supporters of his ruling AKP party in Istanbul.
"Turkey will prevail without a scratch out of this incident and proceed on its way. But you will be crushed by it and pay a big price."
On Wednesday Syrian shells killed five Turkish civilians in the border town of Akcakale, prompting Turkey to hit back at Syrian army positions.
Turkey's government also obtained a one-year mandate from parliament authorizing military raids into Syria if necessary.
Erdogan again said Turkey was not interested in war but would not hesitate to retaliate against any attack and violation of its national security.
"We are not war-enthusiasts," said Erdogan, but he stressed that Turkey had waged many wars throughout its history and was "ready to fight for peace".
Turkey Returns Fire after New Syria Shelling
Turkey returned fire Friday after a new Syrian shell landed in on its territory close to their common border, NTV private news channel reported.
The Syrian shell landed in the Turkish town of Altinozu in Hatay province near the border, triggering an immediate response fire from Turkish forces, at around 1630 GMT.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The shells fell near a Syrian military position south of the rebel-held border post at Tal al-Abyad, in the northern province of Raqa, a monitoring group.
"The new shells landed near a military post south of the border crossing with Turkey," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman, citing witnesses.
Hatay province is opposite the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, while Raqa is further to the east in the strife-torn country.
Raqa province is home to many thousands of displaced Syrians fleeing violence from other areas of the country, activists say.
Posted by: Fred