Wednesday, October 3, 2012

NATO says it stands by Turkey, urges Syria to stop aggressive acts against its ally


The meeting of the North Atlantic Council of NATO. (Reuters / Jason Reed)

Source: Russia Today

Following an exchange of fire at the Syrian-Turkish border, the US and NATO have condemned Syria and pledged to support Turkey. The White House has called for more pressure to be exerted on Damascus.

Turkey fired back at Syria late on Wednesday after Syrian mortars killed five people and wounded eight in a Turkish town near the border.

NATO's North Atlantic Council has convened tonight for an urgent meeting upon the request of Turkey, to discuss the shelling of the town of Akcakale.

The most recent shelling on 3 October 2012, which caused the death of five Turkish citizens and injured many, constitutes a cause of greatest concern for, and is strongly condemned by, all Allies,” NATO said in a statement.

In the spirit of indivisibility of security and solidarity deriving from the Washington Treaty, the Alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an Ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law.”

According to officials the meeting has been held under article 4 of NATO’s code, concerning consultations when a member state feels territorial integrity is under threat.

Meanwhile, the White House used the incident to once again put pressure on the regime of Bashar Assad, urging him to step down.

"All responsible nations must make clear that it is long past time for Assad to step aside, declare a ceasefire and begin the long-overdue political transition process," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the act, saying “we are outraged that the Syrians have been shooting across the border.”

Damascus offered condolences to the Turkish people and said it is investigating the incident, also stating it respects the sovereignty of neighboring countries and urged "states and governments" to act wisely and rationally, according to Reuters.

A woman and four children from the same family were killed after at least three bombs fired from Syria hit a residential suburb of the Turkish border town of Akcakale, on Wednesday. At least eight others were wounded. This is the second mortar attack on the Turkish town since last Friday. Back then, Foreign Minister Davutoglu, said he would take action if there were a repeat.

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