January 2, 2018 / 3:19 PM / a year ago

Two shells from Syria hit southeastern Turkey: Anadolu

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two artillery shells from Syria hit Turkey’s southeastern province of Hatay on Tuesday and Turkish border troops fired back, the state-run Anadolu agency said.

The shells came from an area of Syria controlled by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Anadolu said, adding that there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties after the shells hit a rural area of the border district of Yayladagi.

Last week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called Syrian President Assad a terrorist and said it was impossible for peace efforts in Syria to continue if he did not leave power.

Turkey has demanded the removal of Assad from power and backed rebels fighting to overthrow him, but it had toned down its rhetoric since it started working with Assad’s allies Russia and Iran for a political resolution.

Turkey now says its main concerns in Syria are combating both Islamist militants and Kurdish YPG militia fighters it considers allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Peter Graff

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