Erdogan Says Turkey Doesn't Want War, Syria Says Not Seeking 'Escalation'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday his country has no intention of going to war with Syria, hours after the parliament in Ankara authorized possible cross-border attacks, as Damascus said it was not seeking "escalation."
"We have no intention of starting a war with Syria," Erdogan said at a press conference amid anger over Syrian shelling that killed five Turkish nationals in a town that borders Syria.
But he noted that Turkey had the might to protect its nationals and borders, if needed.
"No country should dare test our determination on that," he warned.
His comments came as the Turkish military amassed tanks and anti aircraft missiles in Akcakale town in Sanliurfa city, where the deadly incident took place on Wednesday.
It was not the first time Damascus shelling hit Turkish territory and branded it "an accident," according to Erdogan, who claimed that Turkey was previously hit seven times by Syrian shelling.
"Even today we had a shell landing in Hatay city Altinozu district," he said.
"One time is an accident... but how is this an accident, when it happens eight times?"
Wednesday's killing triggered sporadic shelling from the Turkish side, with Turkish artillery hitting unspecified targets inside Syria in response. Turkish fire ceased early Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday Damascus "is not seeking any escalation with any of its neighbors, including Turkey."
"The Syrian government has a key interest in maintaining good neighborly relations with Turkey," Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters.
"In case of border incidents between any two neighboring countries, governments should act wisely, rationally and reasonably," he added.
He called on the Turkish government to cooperate with Syria on controls to "prevent armed groups from infiltrating through this border" to stage attacks in Syria.
The ambassador said a Turkish counter-strike Thursday morning against Syrian positions on the other side of the border wounded two Syrian military officials.
He confirmed that Damascus had presented its "deepest condolences" to Ankara for the shelling, adding that authorities were "seriously investigating the source" of these strikes.
But asked for an explanation for the Syrian shelling, he said an investigation into the incident had not been completed.
The ambassador announced that he had submitted to the Security Council president for October, Guatemala U.N. ambassador Gert Rosenthal, a letter explaining Syria's position, as well as another asking the council to condemn the attacks on Aleppo.
At least 48 people were killed, mostly soldiers, and around 100 more wounded Wednesday in a triple car-bomb attack in Aleppo, in northern Syria.