Turkey will respond with even greater force if further shelling from Syria takes place. The announcement came from the country’s military chief of staff, General Necdet Özel, who is visiting the border town of Akçakale where last week five Turkish nationals were killed by an attack by Syrian forces.
The deaths have sparked a week of cross border artillery and mortar exchanges that have increased tensions between the two neighbours.
The comments from Turkey come just one day after NATO’s chief said the alliance was ready to defend the country in a direct warning to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. It would have to request military assistance under the organisation’s collective defence provisions, in which an attack on one member is considered an attack on all.
The latest incidents are the most serious since the revolt in Syria broke out 18 months ago.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the country was “the bleeding heart of humanity and the whole Islamic world.”