Turkey hits Syrian targets after new shell lands in Hatay

October 29, 2012, Monday/ 16:42:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES

The military has again responded to a stray shell fired from Syria that landed in Turkey, the Anatolia news agency said on Monday.

The shell landed some 300 meters away from the Turkish border village of Beşaslan, in the Reyhanlı district of Hatay, on Monday morning, after clashes between Syrian regime forces and opposition fighters escalated in the Syrian town of Harim. The shell fell in a non-residential area of the village. No one was injured, but a power line was destroyed.

Turkish news portal reported that at least four shells landed in Beşaslan and that gendarmerie forces are conducting investigations in the area.

Anatolia reported that the Turkish army responded immediately with artillery fire.

Ankara has been firing in retaliation to stray shells and mortars ever since a shell fired from Syria slammed into the border town of Akçakale in Şanlıurfa province, killing five civilians on Oct. 3.Last week, US Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling sparked a controversy in the Turkish media when he said that the origin of the shells that were fired from Syria and landed in Turkish territory was in dispute.

Hertling, addressing a meeting at Johns Hopkins University on Thursday, said there was confusion as to whether these shells were fired by the Syrian military, by the opposition forces seeking greater Turkish involvement in the Syrian crisis or the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Hertling described the situation as an increasingly complicated one that no NATO member wants to be militarily involved in.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had earlier said there was no doubt that the bomb was fired by the Syrian military.

29 Syrian soldiers cross border into Turkey

Meanwhile, Twenty-nine Syrian soldiers, five of whom were wounded, crossed into Turkey on Monday near the village of Ziyaret in Hatay's Altınözü district.

According to the Anatolia news agency, the soldiers, loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, did not want to surrender to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) when confronted in the Allani village of Idlib and so escaped to Turkey across the border.

The soldiers crossed the border into Ziyaret near a dam under construction, to be named “Dostluk Barajı” (Friendship Dam), and were caught by policemen.

The wounded soldiers were taken to a hospital, while the remaining 24 were driven to the Altınözü district gendarmerie command to make a statement.

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