5 Oct 2012

UN condemns Syrian attack on Turkish village

7:21 pm on 5 October 2012

The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the Syrian mortar attack on a Turkish border village.

Syria's ambassador to the UN says his country had offered its condolences to Turkey for the loss of life on Wednesday, but has not apologised because an investigation into the incident has not been completed.

The statement delivered by Security Council president Gert Rosenthal said the cross border attack underscored the grave impact the Syrian crisis is having on its neighbours and demanded that such violations of international law stop immediately and are not repeated.

The condemnation was harsh, but still represented a compromise, the BBC reports.

Russia tried but failed to include language apparently aimed at balancing the Syrian attack with the Turkish military response.

However, Russia did succeed in removing a reference that called the mortar fire a threat to international peace and security - a phrase which could be used to justify greater Security Council involvement.

Parliament approves operations

The Turkish parliament on Thursday authorised military operations outside Turkish borders if the government deems them necessary.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said the authorisation is not a mandate for war and Turkey's priority is to act in coordination with international institutions, Reuters reports.

Mr Atalay said Syria has apologised through the UN for the shelling and said it would not happen again.

The border town of Akcakala was shelled on Wednesday, killing a woman and three children. Homes and workplaces were also damaged by mortar shells last Friday.

In June, Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has no intention of starting a war with Syria, but no one should test the government's determination to defend its citizens.