Turkey says it fires on al-Qaida-linked fighter positions in Syria

Turkish military fires four artillery shells at Islamist Syrian positions after stray mortar shell strikes Turkish territory.

October 16, 2013 22:40
Patriot missile installation on Turkish-Syrian border.

Patriot missile installation on Turkish-Syrian border 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

ISTANBUL - Turkey's army said on Wednesday it had fired on al-Qaida-linked fighters over the border in northern Syria in response to a stray mortar shell which struck Turkish territory.

The military fired four artillery shells at positions of fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Tuesday, the general staff statement said.

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Turkey has repeatedly carried out such retaliatory action when shells fired from Syria hit Turkey in the past. This appeared to be the first time the Turkish military had targeted the al-Qaida-linked fighters in such a way.

A mortar shell was fired from the Azaz/Parsa mountain area of northern Syria around 1:30 p.m. (1030 GMT) on Tuesday and landed unexploded 450 meters (1,500 feet) to the east of the border military post at Demirisik in Kilis province, the statement said. It did no damage.

"In response to this situation, four shells were fired by two Firtina (Storm) howitzers at positions of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in the Azaz/Parsa mountain," it said.

It was not clear if those shells caused any damage.

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