Mortar shell from Syria hits Yayladagı, wounding two

A mortar shell likely to have been fired from the Syrian side of the border hit a tractor in the Yayladagı district of the southern province of Hatay on Sunday afternoon, wounding two locals.

In a written statement released on its website on Sunday, the Hatay Governor’s Office stated that at around 12:45 p.m., a mortar shell assumed to have been fired from Syria landed in the town of Denizgören, Yayladagı district, 200 meters from the Syrian border. The statement said the mortar shell hit a tractor and wounded two locals, who were only identified by their initials, M.T., aged 54, and A.Ö., aged 26. The wounded residents were taken to hospital and the military then retaliated in line with its new rules of engagement. Border troops have reportedly taken the necessary security measures and begun an investigation into the incident.

The wounded locals were taken to Antakya State Hospital by ambulance, according to the private Dogan news agency (DHA). Bahtiyar Taşdemir, a local official and a relative of the wounded, claimed that the mortar shell was fired from Syria. He said his brother M.T. is in critical condition and that his nephew A.Ö. was not seriously injured.

According to DHA, clashes between rebels and Syrian regime forces have been ongoing in Syria’s northwestern town of Kessab, just across the border from Yayladagı. Mortar shells, bullets and rockets fired from Syria during clashes between rebels and regime forces — or infighting between rebel groups — have periodically landed in Turkey’s southeastern districts, especially in Yayladagı in recent days. In one such incident, a rocket fired from the Syrian border hit a mosque in Yayladagı, wounding a middle-aged woman who was near the place of worship on March 31.