For its part, Syria admitted it was responsible for the shelling and formally apologised for the deaths, a top Turkish official said.
The border violence has added a dangerous new dimension to Syria’s civil war, dragging Syria’s neighbours deeper into a conflict that activists say has already killed 30,000 people since an uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in March 2011.
Deputy prime minister Besir Atalay said parliament’s authorisation was not a declaration of war on Syria but gave Turkey the right to respond to any future attacks from Syria. “The bill is not for war,” Atalay said. “It has deterrent qualities.”
Cross-border tensions escalated on Wednesday after a shell fired from inside Syria landed on a home in the Turkish village of Akcakale, killing two women and three of their daughters and wounding at least 10 others, according to Turkish media.
The bill opens the way for unilateral action by Turkey’s armed forces inside Syria without the involvement of Turkey’s western or Arab allies. Turkey has used a similar provision to repeatedly attack suspected Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq.
Nato, of which Turkey is a member, met in an emergency session in Brussels and condemned the attack on Turkey. Nato demanded “the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally” and urged the Syrian regime to “put an end to flagrant violations of international law”.
Read More: Guardian/AP