Özel said the Turkish military had instantly launched retaliatory strikes after the Syrian shell hit Akçakale on Oct. 3. “We responded but if it continues we will respond with greater force,” Özel said. He added that the Syrian military has suffered serious damage from the Turkish strikes.
Accompanied by Land Forces Commander Gen. Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu and 2nd Army Commander Galip Mendi, the military chief arrived in Akçakale early on Wednesday after inspecting troops in other towns along the border with Syria.
A state of high tension between Turkey and Syria continues as the latter has once again struck on Turkish soil, on the sixth day since the Oct. 3 incident, which wounded at least eight people in addition to killing five. Although Turkey responded to the Syrian aggression with retaliatory artillery fire, no casualties were reported on the Syrian side apart from one injury. The incident represents the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria.
Turkey’s armed forces have bolstered their presence along the 900-kilometer border with Syria in recent days and have been responding in kind to gunfire and shelling spilling across from the south, where Assad’s forces have been battling rebels who control swathes of territory in the region.
Last week, after deadly cross-border shelling, Ankara warned Assad that it will respond to each shell or mortar round that hits Turkish soil. Turkey also sent more artillery to hotspots along the troubled border on Monday, Turkish media reported.