The United States expressed strong support for Turkey Friday as it took military action to respond to Syrian attacks on its border.

“We do certainly stand behind Turkey as they take that action because we believe that action is appropriate,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said when asked about the recent flare-up between the two countries.

Turkey returned fire Friday after a mortar fired from Syria landed in the southern part of the country. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Turkish army bombarded Syrian military targets after five civilians were killed by a Syrian shelling earlier in the week.

The Turkish parliament has authorized the military to engage in cross-border action should there be further Syrian attacks.

Earnest referred to Turkey’s actions as “designed to ensure that their sovereignty is no longer violated by Syrian aggression.”

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