Two rocket attacks hit Turkish town on Syria border, one dead, dozens injured

A riot police officer runs away from the site after two rockets hit the Turkish town of Kilis near the Syrian border, Turkey, April 24, 2016. © Umit Bektas
One person was killed and dozens were injured as the Turkish border town of Kilis was hit by rockets coming from Islamic State-controlled territories in Syria on two occasions on Sunday.

In the morning, two Katyusha rockets hit a residential area not from the town’s center, injuring 16 people, including children.

One projectile penetrated the roof of a house, while the other hit the garden fence, Dogan news agency reported.

A mother and her children react after two rockets hit the Turkish town of Kilis near the Syrian border, Turkey, April 24, 2016. © Umit Bektas

An angry crowd gathered in the poor neighborhood shortly after the attack, shouting “enough is enough” and blaming the authorities for their inability to provide security. Eventually, riot police had to interfere to disperse the crowd. 

Locals protest against officials asking them to resign as they argue with police about their security concerns after two rockets hit the Turkish town of Kilis near the Syrian border, Turkey, April 24, 2016. © Umit Bektas

Later on Sunday, two more Katyusha rockets were fired from the Syrian territory, hitting the town’s historic Tekke Mosque.

The explosions, which killed one person and injured ten, occurred just 100 meters from the governor of Kilis’ office, where Turkish Deputy PM, Yalcin Akdogan, was holding talks at the time.

The Turkish military responded with an artillery barrage directed back into Syria within the rules of engagement, Akdogan said, according to Hurriyet newspaper.

“I am calling for our citizens to be calm. All measures will be taken in this regard. Unfortunately there is no authority across our border,” the deputy PM said at press-conference in Kilis.

Kilis, which lies just across the border from an area in Syria controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), has been a frequent target of rocket attacks in recent months.

Two people were killed in the town when it was shelled from Syria on Friday.

According to Akdogan, attacks involving a total of 45 rockets have killed 16 people in Kilis province since January 18, 2016.

The latest incidents came despite Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s promise on Saturday that all necessary measures were being taken to prevent more rocket attacks from Syria.

Turkey’s efforts to stem them have proven ineffective, as militants use motorcycles to reach the border, making it difficult for Turkish howitzers at the frontier to hit the fast moving targets before they launch their rockets, Turkish officials told Reuters.

Ankara may call on its allies in the US-led coalition to step up their assaults on Islamic State along the Syrian border, they added.