By Sarah Barchus
The Turkish prime minister said Turkey fired retaliatory artillery at Syria Wednesday after a Syrian artillery shell landed in a border town and killed five Turkish civilians, The New York Times reported.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office stated that Syrian regime forces were responsible for the artillery shell that landed in the Turkish boarder town of Akcakale, killing five and injuring nine others, the Cable News Network reported.
Before sending retaliatory fire, Turkey expressed its concerns to the United Nations and NATO and protested the killings. In response, NATO said it would hold an urgent meeting on Wednesday to address the situation, The New York Times reported.
Turkey's semiofficial Anadolu news agency reported that the Syrian mortar shell came from the district of Tel Abayad. Akcakale Mayor Abdulhakim Ayhan said the shell landed on a house and killed three children, their mother, and a female neighbor, CNN reported.
"Turkey, in accordance with the rules of engagement and international law, will never leave such provocations by the Syrian regime against our national security unrequited," the prime minister's statement said in reaction to the event, The New York Times reported.
The shelling marked the first significant military exchange at the Turkish-Syrian border since last year when the uprising in Syria began, The New York Times reported.
A senior U.S. defense official said that Syria is warning Turkey not to interfere in Syria, CNN reported. It would be better for both countries to refrain from escalating the conflict, the official said.
Since Syria downed a Turkish plane in over the Mediterranean in June and with Turkey's continual support for Syrian rebels, the tension between the two countries is steadily increasing, The New York Times reported.