Turkey, pushed to edge by Syria, issues warning

(CBS News) NEAR THE SYRIAN BORDER IN TURKEY - The violence in Syria's civil war has begun to spill over its borders.

For a second day, Turkey fired artillery shells into Syria. It was in retaliation for a Syrian mortar that slammed into a house on the Turkish side Wednesday. Five civilians were killed, including three children. Ten people were wounded.

On Thursday, Turkey's parliament authorized military operations in Syria.

The Turkish prime minister said Monday he doesn't want war with Syria, even after firing into Syria. It may seem incongruous, but the Turkish public definitely doesn't want a war.

The problem is Turkish government feels frustrated by its inability to control what's happening in Syria and to stop the chaos spilling across its borders.

There are more than 100,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. Back in June, a Turkish military plane was shot down by Syria.

Those are the reasons the Turkish parliament voted to authorize the use of force against Syria if necessary.

Essentially, Turkey is sending a strong warning to Syria, saying we don't want to fight you, but we will if you feel you give us no other choice.

The situation on the border is dangerous. The U.S. State Department said Thursday so far Turkey's response had been proportionate and appropriate. But the fear is this could escalate into a military conflict between Turkey and Syria and that would be massively destabilizing for the entire Middle Eastern region.

It would almost certainly draw in other neighboring countries to the conflict.

It could even draw in the U.S., because Turkey is a NATO ally, and that scenario in this part of the world is very worrying.

  • Holly Williams

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