World Bulletin / News Desk
In the midst of a visit to Russia, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned Turkey not to exaggerate Syria shelling and drag NATO into the conflict, report said on Wednesday.
Syrian shelling, landed in a Turkish town last week, killed 5 civilians.
Maliki asserted that Syria was not threatening Turkey, which should not seek NATO intervention.
“Turkey is being presumptuous, you could say, as if it were taking responsibility for solving the Syrian conflict instead of the Syrian people and wants to impose its own solution. For this reason the international community needs to stop Turkey from intervening,” he said.
Coinciding with Maliki’s barbs, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to postpone his visit to Ankara.
Turkey's armed forces have bolstered their presence along the 900-km (560-mile) border and have been firing back over the past week in response to gunfire and shelling coming across from northern Syria, where Assad's forces have been battling rebels who control swathes of territory.
Several mortar bombs landed outside the Syrian border town of Azmarin and heavy machinegun fire could be heard as clashes between the Syrian army and rebels intensified.
Plumes of smoke rose into the sky and cries of "God is Greatest" rang out between the bursts of gunfire.
"We responded but if it continues we will respond with greater force," state television TRT quoted Turkey's Chief of Staff, General Necdet Ozel, as saying.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday the military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkey.