Turkey's military chief , said on Wednesday that his country would respond with more force if the shelling continued across the border with Syria.
“We retaliated immediately, we also inflicted losses,” a Turkish news agency quotes Gen. Necdet Ozel, chief of the Turkish general staff after NATO said it stood ready to defend Turkey.
The Turkish Armed Forces enhanced its presence cross-border violence in Syria, which extends for a distance of 900 miles with Syria , nearly went to war with its neighbor over Syrian support for Turkish Kurdish rebels in the 1990s. The relationship improved dramatically since Assad came to power in 2000, and the two countries reached out to build economic ties.
"We responded but if it continues we will respond with greater force," state television TRT quoted Turkey's Chief of Staff, General Necdet Ozel, as saying.during a visit to the town of Akcakale to offer condolences to five civilians were killed last week by a Syrian mortar strike in the town and of them a man who lost his wife and three daughters due to a Syrian shell.
The Secretary General of NATOsaid on Tuesday “We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary,” He did not disclose further details. But a senior U.S. defense official said NATO would likely to move if Turkey asked for help.
Turkey, NATO's biggest Muslim member, became a regional power in last decade, backed by a growing economy, emerging democratic credentials historical and cultural links to neighbors, Turkey is shelters more than 90,000 Syrian refugees in camps on its territory
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's goal is to secure peace and stability in the region and not to interfere in the internal politics of Syria.
"We warned Assad. We reminded him of the reforms he should introduce...unfortunately the Assad regime didn't keep its promises to the world and its own people," Erdogan said. "Nobody should or can expect us to remain silent in the face of the violent oppression of people's rightful demands."
Meanwhile, Syrian activists, said the rebel units of the Free Syrian Army took control of Maaret al-Numan,after a battle lasted 48 hours, but clashes continued on Wednesday in Maart and surrounding areas.It is a strategic city along the main highway in Idlib province that connects the central city of Homs with northern city of Aleppo and the capital Damascus.
Footage from Anadolu showed civilians many of them women and young children crossed a narrow river marking the border with Turkey They said they were fleeing fighting in Azmarin and surrounding villages .
The doctors and volunteers set up temporary points of first aid on both sides of the border. Several Turkish ambulances ,minibuses and cars wait to transport injured and wounded people who are in critical situation to Antalya or large hospitals..
The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday morning in the French capital The UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will visit Syria soon in an attempt to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 's government for an immediate cease-fire in the conflict raging with opponents for 18 months ago.
Brahimi's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said Brahimi will in tour in neighboring countries mean that he will not visit Syria this week. He refused to give details about the flight path of the Patriarchs for security reasons.
The United Nations and activist groups place the death toll of the Syrian conflict between 20,000 and 30,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Assad has been going on for 18 months . An estimated 100,000 refugees mostly women and children, have sought refuge in Turkey since the start of the conflic in Syria are now housed in Turkish camps