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Turkey 'does not want Syria war'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country does not want war with Syria but is determined to protect its borders and people.

Mr Erdogan was speaking at a news conference held hours after Turkey's Parliament approved a Bill authorising military operations against Syria.

Earlier, Turkey fired on targets in Syria for a second day following a Syrian shelling that killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.

Mr Erdogan suggested the Syrian shelling was not accidental, saying that such shells had fallen on Turkish territory on seven previous occasions since the civil war began there.

"We want peace and security and nothing else. We could never want to start a war," he said. "Turkey is a country which is capable of protecting its people and borders. No-one should attempt to test our determination on the issue."

Syria's UN envoy also said that his government is not seeking any escalation of violence with Turkey and wants to maintain good neighbourly relations.

Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said the government has not apologised for the shelling from Syria that killed five Turkish civilians because it is waiting for the outcome of an investigation on the source of the firing.

He read reporters a letter he delivered to the deeply divided UN Security Council which sent Syria's "deepest condolences" to the families of the victims "and to the friendly and brotherly people of Turkey".

It urged Turkey and its other neighbours to "act wisely, rationally and responsibly" and to prevent cross-border infiltration of "terrorists and insurgents" and the smuggling of arms.

The Security Council has so far failed to respond to Wednesday's deadly attack from Syria.


From Belfast Telegraph