News / Middle East

Stray Bullets from Syria Kill 2 in Turkish Border Town

Image shows shelling of the Al-Qaboun neighborhood in rural Damascus, Syria, July 15, 2013.
Image shows shelling of the Al-Qaboun neighborhood in rural Damascus, Syria, July 15, 2013.
Reuters
A man and a 15-year-old boy were killed by stray bullets shot from Syria in a Turkish border town and Turkish troops returned fire, officials said on Wednesday, in the most serious spillover of violence into Turkey in weeks.
 
The Turkish military said it acted in accordance with its rules of engagement after bullets fired from the adjacent Syrian town of Ras al-Ain hit police headquarters in the southeastern Turkish town of Ceylanpinar and houses in the town's center.
 
The incident, which took place on Tuesday, underscores growing concern that Syria's more than two-year-old civil war is dragging in neighboring states.
 
Kurdish fighters have been battling Islamist anti-government rebels in Ras al-Ain since Tuesday. Ceylanpinar sits only meters across the frontier from Ras al-Ain.
 
Health officials said earlier that the boy was undergoing surgery after being hit in the head by a bullet, but later confirmed he had died of his wounds on Wednesday. Security sources said clashes were still ongoing.
 
The Turkish military said a local government official had been lightly wounded by one bullet but made no mention of any other casualties.
 
It gave no further details of any targets it had struck inside Syria.
 
Turkish troops have stepped up return fire into Syria in recent weeks due to what officials have said was heightened tension along the border and increased activity by smugglers, many of them armed.
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Kurdish armed men had taken control of most of Ras al-Ain from Islamist rebel fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
 
The clashes between Kurdish fighters, who generally support the creation of an autonomous region within Syria, and Islamist Arabs started on Tuesday after Nusra fighters attacked a Kurdish patrol and took a gunman hostage, the Observatory said.
 
Clashes between Kurds affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Syrian Kurdish party with links to Kurdish militants in Turkey, and anti-Assad Syrian and foreign fighters have erupted since Kurds began asserting control over parts of the northeast from late last year.
 
Ras al-Ain, also known by its Kurdish name Serekani, and Ceylanpinar were once a single town under the Ottoman Empire before they were split after WW I, and both have Arab and Kurdish communities.
 
In the worst example of the spillover of violence into Turkey, 52 people were killed when twin car bombs ripped through Reyhanli, another border town, on May 11. Turkey accused Syria of involvement in the attacks but Damascus has denied any role.
 
Turkey, which is sheltering around 500,000 Syrian refugees, has become one of Assad's most vocal critics and has scrambled war planes along the border as stray gunfire and shelling hit its soil. The civil war began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid