Turkey’s parliament in an emergency session on Oct. 4 authorized military action against Syria following deadly cross-border fire—while insisting it was not a war mandate. The vote came as Turkey retaliated for shelling that killed five Turkish nationals. An artillery shell fired from Syria during the clashes between government forces and the Free Syrian Army there landed on a house in the district of Akçakale in the southeastern province of Urfa; a mother and her four children lost their lives, and another 13 people were injured. Although shells have fallen across the border before, it marked the first time that Turkish citizens were killed by Syrian fire. Although Damascus issued an apology, Turkish retaliatory fire continues, killing several Syrian soldiers. An evacuation of Akçakale has been ordered.
Protesters opposed to the Turkish shelling marched through Ankara and Istanbul Oct. 4. In Ankara, police used tear gas to disperse a group that converged on the parliament building, chanting “We don’t want war!” and “The Syrian people are our brothers!”
Inside Syria, the army shelled several areas of Aleppo, the country’s second city that has been one of the focal points of the conflict since mid-July when the army promised the “mother of all battles” to clear the city of rebels. In Damascus province, clashes between the army and rebels left at least 21 members of Syria’s elite Republican Guards dead. Car bombs targeted a military officer’s club in Aleppo on Oct. 2, leaving dozens dead, while a third blast went off at an entrance to Aleppo’s Old City. More than 31,000 people have been killed since the outbreak in March last year of the revolt against Assad’s regime. (EuroNews, Oct. 5; Middle East Online, AFP, Reuters, World Bulletin, Turkey, Oct. 4; BIANet, Turkey, World Bulletin, Oct. 3)
Turkey called a NATO meeting to discuss a response to the shooting down of one of its warplanes by Syrian forces.