A cross-border rocket attack from Syria has killed four Syrians in the southern Turkish town of Kilis, officials have said.
Turkish armed forces hit back by firing mortar shells on Monday after four rockets landed in the centre of Kilis from the area controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
“Four Syrians living in Kilis, including three children, were killed,” the Kilis governor’s office said in a statement.
Five Syrians and one Turkish citizen were also wounded in the incident. A teachers’ dormitory and a hospital were hit, according to Reuters news agency.
Kilis – the only town in Turkey where refugees from the war in Syria now outnumber Turkish locals – has been repeatedly hit by rocket fire from areas in Syria controlled by ISIL in recent weeks.
A Syrian shepherd was among those killed when one of the Katyusha-type rockets hit an area close to a school where he was tending his flock, Turkey’s Dogan news agency said.
Ten of his sheep were killed while a 14-year-old Turkish schoolboy was also wounded.
A second person was killed and four more wounded when one of the rockets hit an apartment block in another district of the town, Dogan said.
Two people were killed in Kilis last week by ISIL rocket fire from Syria, prompting protests in the town over the lack of security.
Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan made a rare public visit to Kilis last week while Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also vowed to protect the town.
Turkish officials have repeatedly lauded the hospitality of people in Kilis towards Syrians as an example of how Turks are hosting the 2.7 million Syrians who have fled their country’s civil war to Turkey.
Turkey is facing several security threats. As part of a US-led coalition, it is fighting ISIL in neighbouring Syria and Iraq as well as Kurdish fighters in its own southeast, where a two-and-a-half-year ceasefire collapsed last July, triggering the worst violence since the 1990s.