ANKARA, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Following a Syrian mortar attack that killed five Turkish civilians, Turkey gathered an extraordinary session of the parliament on Thursday, seeking approval of a one-year mandate authorizing the military to send ground troops for cross-border military operation into Syria "when deemed necessary."
The parliament passed the motion with 320 deputies in favor; 129 lawmakers voted against it.
The motion was drafted at an emergency cabinet meeting late Wednesday, hours after the Syrian mortar shelling in Akcakale, a border town in Turkey's Sanliurfa province.
The bill cited that Syria's "aggressive actions" directed at Turkey's territories, saying that the situation had reached a stage which possessed serious threats and risks to its national security "despite repeated warnings and diplomatic initiatives."
"Therefore, need for acting timely and rapidly against additional risks and threats which may be directed against our country and for taking necessary precautions have developed," said the motion.
"Turkey has no intention of declaring war on Syria, but Turkey is capable of protecting its borders and will retaliate when necessary," Ibrahim Kalin, an aide to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on his Twitter account.
The parliamentary session came amid Turkey's retaliatory strikes on Syrian targets.
Turkish artillery fired on Syrian targets on Wednesday and continued through early Thursday.
It was the first time that Turkish civilians had been killed by fire from Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al- Assad's regime in March 2011.
"Our armed forces in the border region responded immediately to this abominable attack in line with their rules of engagement; targets were struck through artillery fire against places in Syria identified by radar," Turkish prime ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.
Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi said in a statement on Wednesday that Damascus was looking into the origin of the cross- border shelling. "Syria offers its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to our friends the Turkish people," he said, but also called on other countries to respect Syria's sovereignty and to control their borders to stop gunmen from entering Syria.
Turkey has demanded that the United Nations Security Council and NATO take action against Damascus after Wednesday's attack, which has drawn sharp Western condemnation.
NATO held an urgent meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the matter and stated to stand by member-nation Turkey.
The Turkish ambassador to the UN sent a letter to the president of the 15-nation Security Council, calling the shelling of Syria " a breach of international peace and security."
Syria has acknowledged that its deadly shelling of a Turkish town was a "tragic accident," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.
The Syrian authorities told Russia "it will not happen again," Russian media quoted Lavrov as saying.
Last June, Ankara did not respond militarily when Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet and killed two pilots. But Turkey increased its military presence along its 900 km border with Syria.
Turkey has repeatedly complained about the spillover of Syrian artillery and gun fire into its territory. Last week, the Turkish government sent a diplomatic note to Damascus and warned of actions if there are more mortar strikes on its territory again from Syria.
Ankara once cultivated good relations with the Syrian administration, but became a harsh critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after Syria's popular revolt began last year, accusing him of creating a "terrorist state."