Middle East

Turkey returns artillery fire into Syria

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, flanked by his deputy Besir Atalay (L) and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz (R), speaks during a news conference at Ataturk International airport in Istanbul April 4, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

ANKARA: Turkey on Friday fired artillery into Syria to retaliate after cross-border shelling hit its territory without causing injuries or damage, the army said.

"Six shells hit in Yayladadi in Hatay province and caused no damage," said the Turkish armed forces in a statement.

"In accordance with the rules of engagement, Turkish artillery shelled the area where the fire originated."

Turkey, a staunch opponent of the Damascus regime, hosts about 800,000 refugees from the three-year-old Syrian conflict, many of them in camps along the border.

Turkish armed forces stationed along the Syria border often retaliate when munitions from fighting there hit its territory.

On March 23 Turkish F-16 aircraft shot down a Syrian fighter jet for a breach of Turkish airspace.

Turkey toughened its rules of engagement after one of its jets was downed by the Syrian air force in June 2012. Ankara warned that any military approach of the border from Syria would be seen as a threat.





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