May 21, 2013
NATO demands halt to Syria aggression against Turkey
NATO demanded an immediate halt to "aggressive acts" against alliance member Turkey on Wednesday after a mortar strike launched from Syria killed five Turkish civilians.
Ambassadors from the alliance's 28 member nations held an emergency late-night meeting at NATO headquarters, at Turkey's request, to discuss the strike.
The shelling "constitutes a cause of greatest concern for, and is strongly condemned by, all allies," the NATO ambassadors said in a statement.
"The alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law," the statement added.
It said recent aggressive acts by Syria were a "clear and present danger to the security of one of (NATO's) allies".
It was a rare meeting under Article 4 of the NATO charter which provides for consultations when one member feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is under threat.
The meeting ended after about 40 minutes with the strong statement of alliance solidarity with Turkey.
Turkey asked for the meeting after a mortar bomb fired from Syria landed in a residential district of the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale, killing a woman and four children from the same family and wounding at least eight other people.
In the most serious cross-border escalation of the 18-month uprising in Syria, Turkey's armed forces responded by hitting targets inside Syria.