NATO: Plans ready to defend Turkey

Associated Press
In this Sunday October 7, 2012 citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Free Syrian Army fighters sit on top of a military truck that was captured from the Syrian Army in the village off Khirbet al-Jouz, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. The Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency said Sunday that the rebels had regained full control of Khirbet al-Jouz. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
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BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO says it is ready to defend alliance member Turkey amid artillery exchanges along its tense southeastern border with Syria.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday that Ankara can rely on the alliance, which has "all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary."

But he appealed to all parties involved to show restraint and avoid an escalation in the crisis.

Turkey and Syria have exchanged mortar and cannon fire across their common border since errant Syrian shells killed five Turkish civilians last week. The border region has been the scene of bloody clashed between Syrian government forces and rebel militants who have used safe havens within Turkey.

Syria says it is not seeking any escalation of violence with Turkey.

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