Gunfire from Syria hits refugee camp in Turkey

 

Syrian forces fired across the border into a refugee camp in Turkey, wounding at least five people as a UN-brokered plan to end more than a year of violence this week all but collapsed, authorities said.

Syrian activists said two people were killed, but the reports could not be immediately confirmed.

The Syrian soldiers were believed to be firing at rebels who tried to escape to the refugee camp after attacking a military checkpoint, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing a network of sources on the ground.

Turkey shelters thousands of refugees who have fled Syria as the government tries to crush a revolt against President Bashar Assad. The UN estimates some 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, when the uprising began.

Today's shooting bolstered fears that the uprising could spark a broad conflagration by sucking in neighboring countries. There have been similar cross-border attacks into Lebanon, although Monday's shooting was believed to be the first inside Turkey.

The incident began at about before dawn on Monday when rebel fighters attacked Syrian soldiers manning a checkpoint near the Turkish border, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, a spokesman for the Observatory.

Six soldiers were killed in the ambush, Abdul-Rahman said. The troops then kept firing as eight wounded rebels escaped to the camp that is just over the border in Turkey, sending bullets whizzing across the frontier into the camp, he said.

According to the Observatory, the shooting wounded five people in the camp, which is near the town of Kilis in the southern province of Gaziantep. The Observatory reported that two people later died of their injuries, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

The governor of Gaziantep province, Yusuf Odabas, said five people were wounded: three Syrians, one Turkish translator and one Turkish policemen. The translator had entered the camp to try to help calm an anti-Assad protest, he said. The governor said Turkish military forces did not return fire.

Turkey hosts some 24,000 Syrian refugees, including hundreds of army defectors, and has floated the idea of setting up a buffer zone inside Syria if the flow of displaced people across its border becomes overwhelming.

Parts of the southern Turkish region near Syria are informal logistics bases for rebels, who collect food and other supplies in Turkey and deliver them to comrades inside Syria via smuggling routes.

The Syrian uprising began last year with mostly peaceful protests against the Assad regime, a family dynasty that has ruled the country for four decades. But in the face of a relentless military assault on protests, the opposition has become increasingly militarized.

Now, the uprising resembles an armed insurgency, and there are fears the country is spiraling toward civil war. International envoy Kofi Annan brokered a cease-fire that was supposed to begin Tuesday, but the plan is in tatters.

Syrian troops were meant to pull out of population centers by Tuesday morning, but the government on Sunday introduced a new demand — saying it cannot withdraw without written guarantees from opposition fighters that they will lay down their arms. Syria's main rebel group rejected the government's demands.

Naci Koru, Turkey's deputy foreign minister, said the deadline for the withdrawal has become "void at this stage," state-run TRT television reported.

Annan is scheduled to visit to one of the refugee camps in Hatay province, bordering Syria, on Tuesday afternoon, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said. Annan's office confirmed the trip to Turkey.

"Annan's one-hour visit to Hatay tomorrow is critical, he will see the situation himself," the TRT quoted Koru as saying on Monday.

Annan has been on a serious diplomatic push to rally support for his cease-fire deal. The international community, which so far is unwilling to contemplate military intervention, has had little leverage over Syria.

But Iran, Russia and China have been Assad's strongest supporters. Annan already has traveled to Russia and China, and he was expected in Tehran on Tuesday.

On Monday, Russia was hosting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.

It is not clear whether Moscow will try to pressure Syria to comply with the cease-fire plan, though Russia said Monday it may send its observers to Syria as part of a potential UN monitoring mission.

Also on Monday, Human Rights Watch said Syrian forces have summarily executed more than 100 people, most of them civilians.

The New York-based group said it has documented the killings of 85 civilians, including women and children, and the summary executions of at least 16 wounded or captured opposition fighters.

"In a desperate attempt to crush the uprising, Syrian forces have executed people in cold blood, civilians and opposition fighters alike," said Ole Solvang, a researcher for the group. "They are doing it in broad daylight and in front of witnesses, evidently not concerned about any accountability for their crimes."

The New York-based group said it only included cases corroborated by witnesses, but has received many more reports of similar incidents.

The group said it documented several cases of mass executions in March in the cities of Homs and Idlib, two centers of the uprising. This includes the killing of 13 people in a mosque in Idlib, the executions of 25 men in a raid of the Sultaniya neighborhood of Homs, and the killing of 47 people, mainly women and children, in three other areas of Homs, the group said.

Two witnesses describing the March 11 killings in Idlib said the Bilal mosque in the city had been used as an initial collection point for those killed and wounded in an army raid. When relatives came to identify the dead, several were led by soldiers out of the mosque, blindfolded and lined up against a wall. More than a dozen soldiers opened fire, killing at least 13 people, the witnesses said.

The Syrian government typically does not comment on such reports.

The allegations came as opposition activists reported that Syrian forces pressed ahead with raids and shelling attacks on the towns of Tel Rifaat in the northwest and Muhassan in the east of the country on Monday.

AP

News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
VIDEO
Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
news Sprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Oxegen in Ireland has been axed as promoters decide it is 'no longer viable'
arts + ents Promoters have axed the event as it is 'no longer viable in current form'
News
The troubled star is set to give fans the biggest insight into her life away from the headlines
people Star made the announcement during the final episode of the programme, entitled Lindsay
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players