Middle East

Turkish army chief inspects troops near Syria border

A Turkish armoured personnel carrier drives out of a military border post on the Turkish-Syrian border near the village of Hacipasa in Hatay province, southern Turkey October 9, 2012. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

ANKARA: Turkey's top military commander General Necdet Ozel on Tuesday inspected troops in the southeastern Hatay province near the Syrian border, a day after a Syrian shell landed in a nearby town, local media reported.

Ozel inspected military units in the province and was expected to tour the border region, which has been shuttered over the past week with tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, reported the Anatolia news agency.

The visit comes after Turkish forces fired across the frontier into Syria on Monday after a shell launched from Syria landed in the Altinozu district in Hatay.

Shells which killed five civilians on Wednesday at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province sparked Turkish retaliatory fire which has been repeated with every new Syrian shell that lands across the border, as Bashar al-Assad's regime battles rebel forces.

Wednesday's incident was the most serious between Damascus and Ankara since Syrian anti-aircraft fire brought down a Turkish fighter jet in June, and renewed fears of a broader conflict.

The Turkish parliament on Thursday gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.





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