Published October 16, 2013
ANKARA, Turkey – The Turkish military says it has fired artillery at targets belonging to al-Qaida-linked rebels in Syria — in retaliation for a mortar shell that landed close to a Turkish military post near the border.
The military said Wednesday troops fired four rounds from self-propelled artillery guns at positions held by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant near the Syrian border town of Azaz. It said the attack occurred Tuesday.
Turkey frequently retaliates against stray fire from Syrian government or opposition forces, but it was the first time the country has declared that it had engaged the al-Qaida-linked group.
Turkey has been accused of supporting al-Qaida-linked groups fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. The country denies backing jihadist groups and has recently publicized efforts to crackdown on al-Qaida militants.