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Syrian firing into Turkey a clear border violation: Erdogan

April 10, 2012

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the media in Ankara April 5, 2012.


ANKARA: Shots fired from Syria at a Syrian refugee camp inside Turkey are a “clear violation” of the common border between the two countries, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.

“It was a very clear violation of the border,” Erdogan told reporters in Beijing, where he is on an official visit. “Obviously we will take the necessary measures,” he was quoted as saying by the Turkish news agency Anatolia.

On the Turkish border Monday, shots fired from inside Syria wounded four Syrians and two Turkish staff working at a refugee camp in the first case of Syrian fire hitting people on Turkish soil.

Erdogan said his country will “use its rights as granted by international law,” but did not specify whether Turkey was planning to establish buffer zones or open up humanitarian corridors into Syria, as floated by Turkish media.

The incident angered Ankara on the eve of a visit by international envoy Kofi Annan to the refugee camps along the border, while Washington said it condemned attacks on Syrian refugees in bordering countries.

Annan is expected at the Turkish-Syrian border Tuesday noon, as well as prominent US senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

A Lebanese television cameraman Ali Shaaban was killed inside Lebanese territory, also by Syrian gunfire.

Syria was facing a deadline Tuesday to withdraw its forces from urban areas after months of bloody clashes, with a peace accord brokered by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan hanging by a thread Tuesday.

Syria's armed forces were supposed to withdraw from urban protest centres Tuesday, with a complete end to fighting designed to avert all-out civil war was scheduled to follow 48 hours later.

On Monday Washington said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had shown no sign so far that his government was sticking by the peace plan after signing on to the deal last week.

At least 105 people were killed on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said after weekend violence claimed almost 180 lives, most of them civilians.