News24

Turkish pilgrims attacked in Syria

2011-11-21 14:26

Ankara - A bus carrying Turkish pilgrims came under fire in neighbouring Syria as they were travelling back from the hajj in Saudi Arabia, leaving two injured, media reports said on Monday.

The private CNN-Turk television station, citing unconfirmed claims, said the attack was carried out by Syrian soldiers when the bus took a wrong turn near the flashpoint city of Homs.

"We confirm that an attack took place in Syria," a foreign ministry official told AFP, without giving any further information.

But he added: "We repeat our warning to citizens not to visit Syria."

Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey as Ankara has become increasingly vocal in its criticism of President Bashar al-Assad's bloody crackdown on protests against his regime.

One pilgrim and the bus driver were injured, the CNN-Turk report said.

Syrian opposition umbrella group the Local Co-ordination Committees issued a statement in Nicosia saying that two buses had come under fire and published a video online showing the aftermath of the attack.

"Military and security forces open fire on two buses of a Turkish company heading towards Turkey via the Bab Hawa border crossing, injuring some of the Turkish travellers," it said.

The video showed several shattered windows in one bus, and one person being carried on a stretcher by ambulance staff.