ISTANBUL/BEIRUT - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned on Friday his country was "not far" from war with Syria following cross-border attacks this week - words which highlighted the danger that the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Asaad will drag in its neighbors.

In a belligerent speech to a crowd in Istanbul, Erdogan warned the Assad government it would be making a fatal mistake if it picked a fight with Turkey.

The speech followed a Syrian mortar barrage on a town in southeast Turkey that killed five people on Tuesday.

Turkish artillery bombarded Syrian military targets on Wednesday and Thursday in response, killing several Syrian soldiers, and the Turkish parliament has authorized cross-border military action in the event of further aggression.

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