Syrian jets, helicopters hit rebel town near Turkey

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:40pm IST

Related Topics

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - A Syrian warplane bombed the rebel-held town of Ras al-Ain on Monday, just metres (yards) from the Turkish frontier, sending scores of civilians fleeing for safety into Turkey.

Helicopters also strafed targets near the town, which fell to rebels on Thursday during an advance into Syria's mixed Arab and Kurdish northeast. There was no word on casualties.

The jet struck within metres (yards) of the border fence that divides Ras al-Ain from the Turkish settlement of Ceylanpinar, sending up plumes of black smoke.

A Reuters reporter in Ceylanpinar said the plane flew right along the border and appeared at one point to have entered Turkish airspace.

It was not clear what the bomb struck, but scores of civilians fled the area, scrambling over the fence into Turkey.

To Ankara's alarm, some 9,000 Syrians arrived in one 24-hour period last week, swelling to over 120,000 the number of registered refugees in Turkish camps, with winter setting in.

Turkey is becoming increasingly concerned about security along its border with Syria, in an area of the southeast where Ankara is also fighting an emboldened Kurdish insurgency.

Turkey says it is talking to its NATO allies about the possible deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles to guard against a spillover of Syria's 19-month-old conflict.

Such a move could also be a prelude to enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria to limit the reach of President Bashar al-Assad's air power, although Western powers have steered clear of this.

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon to keep people on the Turkish side away from the border fence. In Ceylanpinar, anxious residents crowded outside a teahouse to watch the bombing.

"I thought the Turkish government said it wouldn't allow these helicopters to come so close to the border," said one Turk who declined to be named. "Look, they're coming inside our border."

Ras al-Ain, 600 km (375 miles) from Damascus, is part of Syria's northeastern oil-producing province of Hasaka, home to many of Syria's million-strong Kurdish minority.

Syrian Kurds have largely stayed away from the anti-Assad revolt and fear that the mostly Sunni Muslim Arab rebels will ignore their aspirations for autonomy in any post-Assad era. (Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Action Against Islamic State

Reuters Showcase

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

NATO countries have begun arms deliveries to Ukraine - defence minister   Full Article 

Hurricane Odile

Hurricane Odile

Powerful hurricane Odile buffets Mexico's Baja, thousands evacuated.  Full Article 

Restive Xinjiang

Restive Xinjiang

China says "rescues" more children from Xinjiang religious schools.  Full Article 

G8 Report

G8 Report

Governments hold key to unlocking billions for social good.  Full Article 

Singapore Pollution

Singapore Pollution

Singapore air pollution slips into unhealthy level.  Full Article 

Typhoon Kalmaegi

Typhoon Kalmaegi

Typhoon Kalmaegi heads out of Philippines, cuts power, damages farms.  Full Article 

Poroshenko's Empire

Poroshenko's Empire

Tough time to sell Ukraine president's "mouthwatering" candy empire.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage