Turkish Military Returns Fire in Syria After Shells Hit Border Town

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -
FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2010 file photo, Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, shakes hands with then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus, Syria. For five years fighting has raged in Syria -- a globally resonant nightmare kept going in part by the insistence of Bashar Assad’s opponents that he must go even though they were failing to dislodge him from power. Now an inflection point may finally be at hand, with increasingly important Turkey suggesting Assad could play a role in an unspecified transition period. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi, File)
In this 2010 file photo, Syrian President Bashar Assad (R) shakes hands with then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi, File)

Turkey’s military returned fire at Islamic State targets in northern Syria on Tuesday, after two mortar shells from Syria hit a Turkish border town, broadcast NTV said, citing the military.

The military fired 40 shells at four Islamic State targets in Syria, NTV said.

The two mortar shells, which hit the town of Karkamis but did not cause casualties, were apparently fired during clashes between Syrian rebels and Islamic State militants in northern Syria, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Karkamis neighbors the Syrian town of Jarablus, which Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are preparing to attack and seize from Islamic State, according to a senior rebel official, a move that would frustrate Kurdish hopes to expand there.

The mortar shells hit the garden of a property linked to a mosque in Karkamis after striking power lines, Anadolu said. Security forces subsequently sealed off the area and warned people over loudspeakers to stay at home, it said.

On Monday, Turkey’s military launched howitzer attacks on Islamic State while artillery pounded Kurdish YPG terrorists in Syria, who Ankara sees as an extension of its own Kurdish insurgency.