Ashton calls for restraint in Turkey-Syria violence

Ankara seeks parliamentary approval for foreign military operations after mortars kill five in Turkish border town.

By REUTERS
October 4, 2012 11:44
3 minute read.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton [file]

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Kimmo Mantyla/Lehtikuva)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday condemned a mortar strike from Syria that killed five civilians in Turkey, and called for restraint from all sides.

"I strongly condemn yesterday's shelling by Syrian forces of the Turkish border town," she said in a statement. "I once again urge the Syrian authorities to put an immediate end to the violence and fully respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all neighboring countries."

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Turkey has retaliated against the attack, hitting targets nears Syria's Tel Abyad border but Ashton said violence should stop.

"I call for restraint from all sides and will continue to follow the situation extremely closely," she said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also issued a warning on Thursday, telling Reuters that Turkey's military response was understandable, but an escalation of the situation should be avoided.

"The Turkish response is understandable, an outrageous act has taken place, Turkish citizens have been killed inside Turkey by forces from another country," Hague said. "So we express our strong solidarity with Turkey but we don't want to see a continuing escalation of this incident."

Hague said the Syrian government should make sure that "there is no repetition whatever of any incident of this kind so that such tensions on border regions with Turkey or with other neighboring countries can be avoided."



Turkish artillery hit targets near Syria's Tel Abyad border town for a second day on Thursday, killing several Syrian soldiers according to activists and security sources.

Turkey's government said "aggressive action" against its territory by Syria's military had become a serious threat to its national security and sought parliamentary approval for the deployment of Turkish troops beyond its borders.

"Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria. But Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary," Ibrahim Kalin, a senior adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, said on his Twitter account.

"Political, diplomatic initiatives will continue," he said.

In Ankara, Turkish police fired tear gas to stop a small group of anti-war protesters approaching parliament on Thursday as deputies debated a motion that could authorize military action in Syria if the government deems it necessary.

A Reuters reporter saw 25-30 protesters chanting "We don't want war!" and "The Syrian people are our brothers!" in front of the parliament building.

In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey hit back after what it called "the last straw" when a mortar hit a residential neighborhood of the southern border town of Akcakale on Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several Syrian soldiers were killed in the Turkish bombardment of a military post near the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, a few miles across the frontier from Akcakale. It did not say how many soldiers died.

"We know that they have suffered losses," a Turkish security source told Reuters, without giving further details.

NATO said it stood by member-nation Turkey and urged Syria to put an end to "flagrant violations of international law."

The US-led Western military alliance held an urgent late night meeting in Brussels to discuss the matter and in New York, Turkey asked the UN Security Council to take the "necessary action" to stop Syrian aggression.

In a letter to the president of the 15-nation Security Council, Turkish UN Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan called the firing of the mortar bomb "a breach of international peace and security."

UN diplomats said Security Council members hoped it would issue a non-binding statement on Thursday that would condemn the mortar attack "in the strongest terms" and demand an end to violations of Turkey's territorial sovereignty.

Members had hoped to issue the statement on Wednesday, but Russia - a staunch ally of Syria's, which along with China has vetoed three UN resolutions condemning President Bashar Assad's government - asked for a delay, diplomats said.

Related Content

Anti-government protesters demonstrate on a street in central Ankara
June 16, 2013
Thousands take to streets of Istanbul, defy Erdogan

By REUTERS