Syria, rebels fighting on Turkish border

Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:11 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Hundreds of Turks have left homes near the Syrian border as Syria as stepped up its attacks on rebel-held areas, Turkish news media said Wednesday.

About 1,000 people have fled villages on the Turkish side of the border, The Daily Telegraph reported, citing Turkish news agencies. Today's Zaman reported Syrian planes continued bombing Ras al-Ain, a village recently captured by rebels, for a third day.

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said the country's rules of engagement allow commanders of units near the border to attack Syrian planes and helicopters that cross into Turkish airspace, Today's Zaman said.

"Syrian planes or helicopters violating our borders will be given the appropriate response," Yilmaz said at a news conference in Ankara.

The rebels have shifted tactics, the Telegraph said. Instead of attempting to take major cities, they are now focusing on border crossings and villages.

While the initial targets were on the Turkish border, rebels are also fighting near the Golan Heights, which is occupied by Israel.

"Almost all of the villages, from the foot of this ridge to the very top, are already in the hands of the Syrian rebels," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said after a visit to the border. "The Syrian army is displaying ever-diminishing efficiency."

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