* Turkish border calmer after mortar bombs hit on Saturday
* Syrian activists say Khirbet al-Joz under rebel control
* Some 50 people reportedly killed in fight for Syrian
By Hamdi Istanbullu
GUVECCI, Turkey, Oct 7 Syrian rebels have seized
a government army outpost near the Turkish border province of
Hatay and a rebel flag flew over the building on Sunday, while
clashes could be heard in the area of a nearby Syrian village, a
Reuters witness and villagers said.
The rebels took control of the three-storey white building,
around 1 km (mile) from the border on a hill overlooking the
Turkish village of Guvecci on Saturday, and raised the flag of
the Free Syrian Army, villagers said.
"In the last four days there were heavy clashes going on
here. We couldn't sleep. Yesterday morning, the Syrian army
controlled this area. Now it is calmer," said villager Musa
Three mortar bombs fired from Syria landed near Guvecci
village on Saturday, prompting a fourth day of retaliatory fire
from Turkish forces. The Syrian mortar rounds hit empty land and
there were no casualties.
The exchanges are the most serious cross-border violence in
the Syrian conflict, which began as pro-democracy protests but
has evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones. They
highlight how the crisis could destabilise the region.
Clashes could be heard on Sunday in the area of the Syrian
village of Khirbet al-Joz, behind the hill where the military
outpost was located. Smoke could be seen rising from the area.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels seized
control of Khirbet al-Joz and the land around it late on
Saturday after a 12-hour battle.
The British-based group, which monitors the violence in
Syria through a network of activists across the country, said at
least 40 Syrian soldiers, including five officers, were killed.
Nine rebels fighters also died, it said. That death toll could
not be independently verified.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned Syria on Friday that
Turkey would not shy away from war if provoked in the wake of
artillery fire from Syrian forces which killed five Turkish
civilians further east at Akcakale on Wednesday.
NATO member Turkey was once an ally of Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad but turned against him after his violent
response to an uprising in which, according to the United
Nations, more than 30,000 people have died.
Turkey has nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps on its
territory, has allowed rebel leaders sanctuary and has led calls
for Assad to quit. Its armed forces are far larger than Syria's.