The Turkish army early Saturday returned fire after another mortar shell from Syria struck Turkish territory, the Turkish private news channel NTV reported.
An army unit based near Guvecci promptly responded, firing four 81-mm mortars into Syrian territory.
According to Anatolian news agency, "a mortar landed today (Saturday) at 7:00 am (4:00 GMT) about 50 metres (160 feet) inside Turkish territory in an open space, about 700 metres from the village of Guvecci and about 300 metres from a police station," the office of the Hatay governor said in a statement. No casualties were reported, it added.
The fresh round of fire exchange comes three days after a Syrian shell killed five Turkish nationals and injured 11 others in another border town, Akcakale.
Immediately, the Turkish army responded to this with an artillery barrage which killed 10 Syria soldiers.
Friday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country did not want war, but warned Syria not to make a deadly mistake to test Turkey's deterrence.
"We are not interested in war, but we're not far from it either," Erdogan told a crowd in Istanbul on Friday.
He also warned Bashar al-Assad that Turkey would not shy away from war if provoked.
Its worth mentioning that Syria offered apologies for the mortar shell incident but Syria’s envoy to the U.N. Security Council, Bashar Al-Jaafari, stated that Syria did not apologize to the Turkish government as Turkey's deputy prime minister claimed. However, Syria assured that it will not apology over the shells that were fired from the Syrian side killing five Turks and wounding 11 others.
Al-Jaafari stressed that the Syrian government is working on investigating the accident and not on apologizing, reiterating that Syrian information minister Omran Al- Zoabi’s statement was the government’s official statement and it did not include any apology.
In related news, the British Guardian reported Saturday that Syria has agreed to keep its forces six miles from the Turkish border. Such a move would amount to a buffer zone, fulfilling a longstanding request by Syrian opposition groups that would allow rebels to operate freely and civilians to seek refuge.
The paper also said several Turkish media outlets, citing well-placed sources, claimed that a deal had been struck between both countries.
There has been no comment from Turkish government on this news, but sources said to the Syrian television that these news are not true and are only a media fabrication.
The Syrian official confirmed that the term of "buffer zone" does not exist and will never exist on the agenda of any Syrian government today and forever.
A few days ago, I read a report in Arabic on the Middle East Studies website. The report says that according to solid information sources, Turkey was reviewing its policy towards Syria after being convinced that it was impossible to topple the regime in Syria.
The conflicting information about Syria apologizing to Turkey while at the same time a Syrian source denied this news made me doubtful about the accuracy of this report.
The world has expected a war to occur between Syria and Turkey, based on the information and statements given by the Turkish Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister, but it seems that the Turkish government speaks and threatens with tongue only and on the ground what we are seeing is action and reaction only!
Apparently, the only reaction by the leadership of NATO was condemnation. Maybe the reason is that Turkey is the only Muslim country in NATO. Whereas, if the attack happened to any other country apart from Turkey, NATO's attitude would be totally different. If these thoughts are true, then Turkey should re-consider its policy with NATO and the Western countries.
Syrian sources say that the Syrian forces did not bombard the Turkish border, but who did this are members of terrorists, who have been fighting against the regime of Assad. The same source added that despite conflicts with Turkey, Syria hopes that Turkey would return back as it was before the crisis.
After all, if the Turkish reaction is a threat only, Syria is expected to continue its attacks but Turkey is not expected to change its threats from only words to an action on the ground - "military action."