Five rockets have hit the Turkish province of Kilis near the Syrian border, killing one person and injuring 26, officials said, in the latest attack launched from a Syrian area controlled by the Islamic State of iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, who visited the southern province on Sunday, said two of the projectiles landed in the morning, slightly injuring six Syrian refugees and 10 Turkish nationals. Three more hit Kilis in late afternoon, killing one person and wounding 10 others.
Akdogan said 45 rocket rounds have been fired at Kilis since January 18 and killed 16 people, including Sunday’s fatality. At least 62 people have been wounded since then.
The Turkish military systematically responds by firing back at targets in Syria, in line with its rules of engagement, and Akdogan said Turkish artillery “immediately” retaliated to the rocket fire after the latest attack.
“Their [the army’s] intervention is continuing … I am calling for our citizens to be calm,” Akdogan said in televised comments..
“All measures will be taken in this regard. Unfortunately there is no authority across our border.”
Akdogan said measures would be announced after a cabinet meeting on Monday.
Police used water cannon to disperse residents who were protesting against what they said was the government’s lack of action after the attacks, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported.
Refugees outnumbering Turks
Lying just across the border from an area controlled by ISIL, Kilis has been targeted by rocket fire in recent weeks.
It is the only province in Turkey where refugees from the war in Syria – about 110,000 – now outnumber Turkish locals.
On Friday, two people were killed in an attack on Kilis.
The ISIL fighters come to the border on motorcycles and then fire rockets at Kilis, Turkish authorities say.
Turkish howitzers at the border have a difficult time firing on the mobile targets.
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 and northern Iraq.