Turkey military action in Syria approved

2012-10-04 22:22

Beirut/Istanbul -The Turkish parliament on Thursday approved a request by the government for a possible military operation inside neighbouring Syria, although Ankara said the go-ahead did not mean a declaration of war.

The decision, approved 320-129, was made at an emergency parliamentary session. It authorises the action if the government deems it necessary, Turkish media reported.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the decision was not a declaration of war.

"This document is not a go-ahead for war," said Atalay, according to Turkish media.

The parliamentary approval was only meant to deter further shelling attacks from Syria and to allow the government to defend the country's interests, he added.

Atalay said his country had accepted as an apology Syrian statements of regret about Wednesday's cross-border shelling that killed five Turkish civilians.

The incident drew retaliatory Turkish strikes against targets inside Syria late Wednesday and Thursday.

Syria's leadership expressed the sentiments through the United Nations, the Anatolian News Agency quoted Atalay as saying.

The Syrian message assured that "such an incident will, from now on, not happen any more".

There was no official comment from Syria.

Escalation not helpful

A draft statement was circulating at the UN Security Council, which would note that the new development constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region, but call for both Syria and Turkey to exercise restraint.

Diplomats said Russia opposes to any reference to Syria being a threat to the region.

"I think the Turkish authorities will carry out a limited military operation in the area where the shells were fired into Turkey and will try to comb the area," Abdallah Zahed Gul, a prominent Turkish analyst, told dpa.

Similar legislation authorising "operations outside the Turkish borders" allow military action against Kurdish extremists in northern Iraq.

Turkey began shelling targets inside Syria late on Wednesday in retaliation for the Syrian mortar attack, which killed a woman and four of her children.

Rami al-Idlibi, an activist in Syria's northern Idlib province, told dpa that at least five Turkish shells had landed near the border town of Tal Abyad. Five soldiers had been killed and 15 wounded, he said.

"There are artillery bases for the Syrian army in Tal Abyad and the Turkish shelling is targeting the army positions only," al-Idlibi said.

The Turkish army deployed a series of artillery and anti-aircraft missiles near the northern Turkish-Syrian border last month, when Syrian shells slammed into areas inside Turkey without causing casualties.

Syria said it would investigate Wednesday's shelling.

The European Union urged both countries to show restraint.

Tragic occurrence

"A further escalation is clearly not helpful and not welcome, and it's of the utmost priority that the violence stops now," Michael Mann, the spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said in Brussels.

Russia, Syria's key ally, called on Damascus to provide public assurances that there would be no more violent incidents on the border with Turkey.

Syria had assured Russia that the shelling had been a "tragic occurrence," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for calm and called on both sides to show "great discretion."

"We utterly condemn the Syrian attacks on Turkey," she added.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius described the Syrian act as "a violation of international law that poses a serious threat to peace and international security."

Regional security

Nato called on Syria to immediately end its "aggressive acts" against Turkey, following a meeting late on Wednesday at the request of member state Turkey.

In Cairo, the head of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi warned of what he called a serious development on the Syrian-Turkish border and its impact on regional peace and security.

In Syria itself, activists said the death toll from violence across the country reached 80 on Thursday, mainly in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, as well as suburban areas of the capital Damascus.

Rebels claimed they have downed a fighter jet near Aleppo, a day after suicide bombings killed at least 31 people, mainly government soldiers.

Both sides have been fighting for months for control of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city and the country's commercial hub.

News from Syria cannot be independently verified, as most foreign media have been barred from restive areas since the uprising against the government of President Bashar Assad started in March last year.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-05 02:58

    The world does not need more pain and suffering.

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-10-05 08:15

      Yes, Syria should stop making war on its unarmed populace.

  • kenny.bianco.7 - 2012-10-05 05:50

    The west and NATO must stop bullying other countries

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-10-05 06:58

    Nato (using Turkey) looking for any excuse to invade Syria. Obviously the terrorist they sent in are loosing the battle.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-05 07:26

      It's for this reason that these terrorists are resorting to suicide bombings.

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-10-05 08:27

      30 000 people die and you think that it is foreign sponsored terrorism. Youth today seems to equal ignorance. When the ANC sponsored by China and Eastern European countries, sent operatives into South Africa, over a period of 25 years deaths arising were less than 3000. In Zimbabwe over a period of 16 years the death toll was estimated to be 50 000 and these were largely unarmed civilians. In Syria in less than 2 years the death toll has reached 30 000, because it is not foreign based "terrorists" but locals protesting a brutal and dictatorial hereditary dictatorship (similar system of government to North Korea. You obviously hold ordinary Syrians in contempt in that they do not know what they want and should settle for less than you believe is your right. It is people like you who allow intolerance and injustice to flourish. As for Fidel he just hates the west but is too scared to go and live in one of his favourite countries such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Syria etc, where his internet activities would probably earn him a torture session at a secret police base and then execution without the benefit of a mock trial.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-05 08:39

      Kevin, my favoured country is my homeland and I have no desire of living anywhere else in the world! The Sunni suicide bombers are being sponsored by Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, UK and the US. The Jihadists are Sunni foreign fighters being paid salaries by the Gulf countries.

      derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-10-05 10:51

      Kevin equals ignorance if he believes that the Syrian conflict is about the ordinary people seeking liberation from oppression. You watch too much CNN Kevin.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-10-05 11:21

      Assad's days are numbered. He is losing more and more control of his forces by the day. He certainly does not show results. And as of late makes bad and worse decisions.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-05 18:49

      Fidel, I do accept that you are not the brightest on this side, but rather one of the simple ones. So let me go slowly; The ones that you, and all these violent leftish loonies, call 'terrorists', over the 'whole world' are called opposition!!!!. They are demanding, what you so eagerly abuse !!!!!!!!11

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-10-05 07:22

    The mission on this earth's round is the fulfilment of widom and the initiation of love

  • steven.gumbo - 2012-10-05 09:40


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