Syrian jet bombs area near Turkish border
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) -- A Syrian fighter jet on Monday bombed a rebel-held area near the Turkish border, killing at least six people and wounding a dozen others, while a rocket propelled grenade landed in Turkey, officials and witnesses said.
An Associated Press video journalist saw the plane bomb an area around the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, some 10 meters (yards) from the Turkish border. Last week the rebels overran three security compounds in the town, located in the predominantly Kurdish oil-producing northeastern province of al-Hasaka, wresting control from the regime forces.
An official at the local mayor's office said Turkish ambulances ferried 18 wounded Syrians to a hospital across the border in the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar. Six of them died. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. He said the death toll from the attack was expected to rise.
Soon after the bombing, a rocket propelled grenade round landed on an empty field near Ceylanpinar. No one was injured, the official said. Turkey has been responding with fire to shells and mortars fired from Syria that land on its territory, but there was no immediate Turkish retaliation, according to the official.
The force of the blast from the aerial bombing shattered windows in Ceylanpinar, in southeastern Turkey, the official said. A few people were injured in Ceylanpinar, mostly from broken glass and shrapnel. The private Dogan news agency said a Turkish soldier guarding the border area was also hurt.
Two ambulances were seen arriving at the hospital with two wounded Syrians, one bloodied and his bare torso peppered with shrapnel. The other had a foot injury. Both were moved on stretchers and rushed through the doors.
The fighting in Ras al-Ayn touched off a massive flow of refugees two days ago, and more refugees were seen coming after the blast.
Earlier, a Syrian helicopter bombed rebel positions in an area further south of Ras al-Ayn and the rebels could be heard responding with machine guns, the official said.
He said the rebels had besieged a Syrian military unit in the region of Esfar Najar and the helicopter was trying to open up an escape route for the regime forces. It was also seen dropping ammunition and food for the soldiers, the official said.
In Geneva meanwhile, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it anticipates that 170,000 refugees from Syria's civil war will require help in Turkey over the next six months. Around 115,000 Syrian refugees have found shelter in 14 camps in Turkey, according to Turkish officials, while thousands more are waiting to cross in.
The violence in Syria has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March 2011. Hundreds of thousands have fled the fighting into neighboring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Another 11,000 escaped into Turkey on Friday following the surge of fighting at Ras al-Ayn.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)