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Turkey retaliates after 5 killed in Syria rocket fire

Last week more than 20 people were wounded in three straight days of rocket salvoes towards the town, where an estimated 110,000 Syrian refugees are housed.

By: AFP | Istanbul | Updated: April 19, 2016 8:19:58 pm
Kilis-759 Border town Kilis, Turkey. (Source: Google Maps)

More rockets hit a Turkish town on the Syrian border on Tuesday, wounding at least three people, a day after five were killed by fire from an area of Syria controlled by jihadists, a Turkish government official said.

In the last few weeks, Islamic State (IS) jihadists have repeatedly fired rockets at Kilis, the only town in Turkey where refugees from Syria’s five-year conflict now outnumber local Turks.

“Three rockets slammed into three different spots in the centre of Kilis, one in an empty field, one near a school and another near a mosque,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official said the rocket fire left three people lightly injured while the strikes caused a fire to break out one of the houses.

Four Syrian children are now confirmed to have been killed in the strikes by Katyusha-type rockets yesterday on Kilis, along with a Syrian shepherd, the CNN-Turk and NTV channels reported.

The death toll from yesterday’s rocket strikes rose to five on Tuesday after another Syrian child died in hospital, reports said.

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

The children had lost their fathers in the war at home and had come to Turkey with their mothers around two years ago, it added.

At least 11 people have now been killed so far in strikes on Kilis from Syria but this was the heaviest toll recorded so far in a single day.

Last week, Kilis residents held protests over the inability of local authorities to protect them, prompting a visit by Turkey’s powerful spy chief Hakan Fidan.

The government has promised to compensate the material losses sustained by the residents by the strikes from Syria.

Turkey has responded to each of the strikes on Kilis by destroying the launching positions of the jihadists with howitzer fire.

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.

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