Turkish army returns fire after Syrian stray bullets kill two

Turks protest treating wounded Syrians after stray bullets from Syria killed one person and injured another in the Ceylanpınar district. (Photo: DHA)

July 17, 2013, Wednesday/ 15:05:00

The Turkish army has said it returned fire into Syrian territory after more than a dozen bullets were fired into Turkey throughout Wednesday and two Turkish citizens were killed by a stray bullet from Syria.

A statement released by the Turkish army said clashes that started on Tuesday between opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and militant Kurds affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD) -- a Syrian Kurdish armed party with links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- in Syria's border district of Ras al-Ain, just opposite of Şanlıurfa's Ceylanpınar, are ongoing. Residents of the Turkish town could hear the sound of mortar fire and heavy gunfire from across the border.

The statement also said a stray bullet hit Nezir Atilla in the head on Wednesday morning in Ceylanpınar's Cumhuriyet neighborhood but his condition is not critical.

It added that four bullets also hit houses in Ceylanpınar during overnight clashes and up to 10 bullets had hit the Ceylanpınar Police Department building. The army statement said the units in Cenkeser Border Post responded to the fire as part of Turkey's “engagement rules.”

The army's statement came after one Turkish citizen was killed and another critically injured when they were hit by stray bullets in Ceylanpınar from Syria.

The incident, which happened on Tuesday, was the most serious spillover of violence into Turkey in weeks and highlights the growing concern that Syria's civil war is dragging in neighboring states.

The bullets came from the adjacent Syrian town of Ras-al Ain, where Kurdish militants have been battling anti-government opposition fighters under the flag of the FSA since Tuesday.

A 17-year-old Turkish man, Mahsun Ertuğrul, died on Wednesday after a stray bullet from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain hit him in the chest, while another teenager, Ahmet Gündüz, remains in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon after being hit by another stray bullet from the war-torn country on Tuesday.

Keywords: army , syria , fire