DAMASCUS, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian forces thwarted overnight Thursday an infiltration attempt by armed groups from neighboring Turkey, the state-TV said, as the tension has gotten high between both countries after the cross-border incident that killed five Turks a day earlier.
The armed groups were trying to make inroads into Syria though the Syrian border town of Khirbet al-Jous, said the TV, adding that the troops confronted and killed many of the infiltrators, many of whom were foreign nationals, including a Turkish who was identified as Hamza Mohmmad Akbar.
The latest incident comes as the tension between Syria and Turkey has hit a new high after a mortar shell, fired from Syria on Wednesday, landed at a house at the Turkish province of Sanliurfa province and killed five Turks.
The Turkish artillery has reportedly fired twice at Syrian targets after the incident, raising thus the already-high tension between both countries.
The last hit by Turkey reportedly occurred Thursday morning at Syrian military posts at Tal Abyad town, killing some Syrian soldiers, according to Turkey's Today's Zaman daily.
Syria's state-media didn't confirm or deny the account.
On Wednesday, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said that "serious" investigation is currently underway to determine the source of the mortar shells, and stressed that such incidents should be handled with "wisdom and prudence."
The minister also extended his condolences to the family that lost five of its members.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Parliament passed a bill that gives Turkey the right to respond to any future attack from Syria.
The cross-border tension has sparked international fears of further escalation between the two countries.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Moscow is deeply worried about mounting tensions on the Syria-Turkey borders, urging both sides to show maximum restraint.
China also called for restraint as its Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei appealed "to all relevant sides including Turkey and Syria to exercise restraint and refrain from taking any action that will escalate tensions in order to maintain peace and stability in the region."
For his side, Arab League (AL) Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi voiced his "anxiety" over the incident and warned that such incidents on the Turkish-Syrian borders may bring a threat for the regional and world security.
Meanwhile, the foreign policy chief of the European Union (EU) Catherine Ashton strongly condemned the attack said the incident illustrated clearly the tragic spill-over effects of the Syrian crisis in neighboring countries.
Despite the high tension, the cross-border incident is highly unlikely to be a key for a war between both countries, in part, due to the lack of willingness from both countries to wage such a war and the devastating results that such war would produce on both societies, observers say. Turkey has emerged as a sympathizer to armed rebel groups in Syria, providing them with safe havens and other facilitation. Erdogan has repeatedly called on the Syrian President Bashar al- Assad to step down.
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Syria's UN Ambassador Bashadr Ja'afari said on Thursday that his government "is not seeking any escalation with any of its neighbors, including Turkey."
The envoy made the remarks to the media here following an inflammatory border incident in which artillery shelling fired from Syria killed five Turkish civilians in the Sanliurfa province of Turkey. Full story
BEIJING, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday called for restraint amid mounting border tensions between Turkey and Syria.
"The Chinese side always holds that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected between countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in response to a question on the attacks in the border areas between Turkey and Syria. Full story