An artillery shell fired from Syria during the clashes between government forces and the Free Syrian Army there landed over a house in the district of Akçakale in the southeastern province of Urfa today, killing a mother and her four children. 13 more people, including three police officers, were also injured in the incident.
"People are pouring out on to the streets to protest the incident. We have been living in trepidation for the past 10 days. We could not even keep count of the bombs falling over our district during the last 10 days. Bombs keep falling, yet officials are not taking any measures," Akçakale Mayor Abdülhakim Ayhan told the broadcasting station CNNTürk.
This is the second time an artillery shell has landed in the district today, according to Mayor Ayhan.
Protesters consequently began marching toward the district governor's office, while District Gov. Eyüp Fırat left his office with an armored vehicle. Mayor Ayhan said they were trying to disperse the crowd of demonstrators.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan first spoke to Mayor Ayhan and Gov. Celalettin Güvenç, then met with other officials at the prime ministry. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also met with Chief of Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and later spoke to the United Nations Special Envoy Ahtar Brahimi and Secretary General Ban ki Mun to inform them about the ongoing developments.
"All our security forces there are keeping watch. There is no reason for alarm or panic," Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik said, adding that two of the wounded were in critical condition.
"A grave incident that has gone quite far. [They] want to drag Turkey into the conflict in Syria," Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay also commented.
The main opposition People's Republican Party (CHP) issued a written statement indicating they had dispatched a delegation to the area led by the party's deputy leader Sezgin Tanrıkulu. The CHP's Istanbul deputy Mahmut Tanal, Muğla deputy Nurettin Demir and Hatay deputy Refik Eryılmaz are also in the delegation, according to reports.
Ricocheting bullets and pieces of shrapnel fired during a battle between the Free Syrian Army and government forces of the al-Assad regime to capture the border gate in the district of Tel-Abyad in the Syrian city of Rakka had also injured three people, including one minor, inside the Turkish side of the border on the night of Sept. 18.
Another mortar shell landed between two houses in the Hürriyet Neighborhood of the district of Akçakale on Sept. 28, lightly injuring three and causing damage to around 20 homes and shops. (EKN/AS)