UK & World News
Turkey Returns Fire After Syria Mortar Strike
A mortar shell from Syria has hit Turkish territory and prompted a fourth straight day of retaliatory artillery fire - reviving fears the crisis in Syria could spiral into a regional conflict.
The latest shelling comes a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Syria not to test Turkey's "limits and determination" and insisted his country "was not bluffing" with its warnings.
The mortar landed in a rural area near the village of Guvecci in Hatay province.
It happened just minutes after fighting broke out between the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and the rebels in the village of Harabjoz, in Syria's Idlib province across the border, the private Dogan news agency reported.
No one was hurt by the mortar, which landed some 500 metres outside of the village.
But Turkish artillery based at an army battalion near Guvecci immediately responded with "counter-fire", the state-run Anadolu Agency said.
Villagers rushed out of homes and gathered at a safer point in the village, away from the border area.
The latest tensions with Syria began on Wednesday when a Syrian shell hit a home at a Turkish border town, killing two women and three children and sparked unprecedented artillery strikes by Turkey.
Turkey's parliament on Thursday also voted to allow cross-border military operations in Syria, further raising tensions between the neighbours that were once close allies.
On Friday, the US sided with Turkey, condemning what White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the "aggressive actions of the Syrians".
Mr Earnest said Turkey's response was appropriate and that America stands by Turkey, a Nato ally.
Saturday's shelling came as both sides appeared to be trying to defuse the situation.
A Turkish foreign ministry official said on Friday that Syria has pulled tanks and other military equipment away from the border.
Turkey, along with other countries siding with the rebels, is averse to intervening militarily, while Mr Assad has also tried to avoid provocations he believes would trigger a foreign intervention.
The recent shelling marks the most serious incident between the neighbouring countries since June, when Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet that had briefly strayed into its airspace, killing the two crewmen.