Four refugees killed in Turkey by Syria rocket fire

Four refugees killed in Turkey by Syria rocket fire
3 min read
19 April, 2016
Four have been killed in the Turkish town of Kilis by rocket fire from Syria.
Four rockets fired by militants in Syria slammed into the southern Turkish town of Kilis on Monday, killing four Syrians including three children in the latest deadly cross-border strike, officials said.

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 Islamic State (IS) militants in recent weeks.

"Four Syrians living in Kilis, including three children were killed," the Kilis governor's office said in a statement.

Five Syrian children and one Turkish citizen were also wounded by the rocket fire which hit the town centre in a two-hour period from 1130 to 1330 GMT.

The three children were killed when a rocket ripped through a three-storey building where nine Syrian families had been living, helped by a local association, state-run news agency Anatolia said.

All three children had lost their fathers in the civil war and had come to Turkey with their mothers around two years ago.

"What we experienced is something very painful. The children's fathers were martyred in the war. What they needed is kindness," Abdulgani Sevang of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Association, which had been helping the families, told Anatolia.

The other fatality caused by the Katyusha-type rockets was a Syrian shepherd who was tending his flock close to a school that was hit, the Dogan news agency said.
At least 10 people have been killed so far in strikes on Kilis from Syria but this was the heaviest toll recorded so far in a single day.
Ten of his sheep were killed while a 14-year-old Turkish schoolboy was also wounded.

The rockets were confirmed to have come from an area in Syria controlled by IS, Dogan added.

Turkish armed forces hit back by firing mortar shells at IS targets inside Syria, the report said.

At least 10 people have been killed so far in strikes on Kilis from Syria but this was the heaviest toll recorded so far in a single day.

Two people were killed there last week by IS rocket fire from Syria, prompting protests in the town over the lack of security.

Turkey's powerful 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.

"Kilis for the last five years has shown one of the best examples of compassion, hospitality and mercy," Kilis regional governor Suleyman Tapsiz told Anatolia.

"This will still continue be shown after this."

He emphasised the return fire by the Turkish army was serious and aimed at destroying the launch sites of IS as identified by the authorities.

"Everyone must be sure they are completely destroyed by the armed forces."

Neither IS nor the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front are included in a truce brokered by the United States and Russia that came into force on February 27.

Washington has applauded Turkey's role in the anti-IS coalition but US officials on occasion have urged Ankara to do more.

In mid-February, Turkish artillery also shelled targets of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) inside Syria but there have been no reports of any further such fire since the ceasefire.

Agencies contributed to this report