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After Syrian Shelling, Turkey Continues Retaliation And Weighs Troop Action



ANKARA - Turkish artillery has continued to target Syria for a second straight day, in retaliation for the shelling of a Turkish town that killed five people.

Wednesday’s deadly mortar fire heightened tensions as it marked the first time that Turkish citizens have been killed as a result of the 18-month war in neighboring Syria. It is also the first time that Ankara has fired into Syria.

While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had resumed artillery shelling of Syria, Turkey’s Parliament debated a bill Thursday to authorize the military to launch cross border operations in Syria, according to the Istanbul daily Hurriyet.

The motion to be voted on at Parliament would grant "a one-year-long permission to make the necessary arrangements for sending the Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries" in light of the fact that the conflict in Syria "has reached a stage that poses serious threats and risks to our national security. Therefore, the need has developed to act rapidly and to take the necessary precautions against additional risks and threats that may be directed against our country."

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is expected to vote against the motion following a group meeting in the early hours Thursday, according to Radikal newspaper.

The AKP Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik has said the mandate is about the sovereignty rights of the Turkish Republic and does not mean declaring war.

Ibrahim Kalin, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Erdogan, says Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria, but it will continue to protect its borders, Hurriyet reported.

The White House and Pentagon have condemned Syria for the shelling. NATO continues to stand by its member Turkey, but has proposed no immediate action.

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