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U.S. says Turkish shelling of Syria ‘appropriate’ and ‘proportional’

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WASHINGTON — The United States said Thursday Turkey had taken “appropriate” and “proportional” action in firing back at Syria after a deadly cross-border shelling, but urged that tensions should not escalate.

“From our perspective, the response that Turkey made was appropriate,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, adding Ankara had long made it clear that it would respond to any violation of its territory.

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“It also was designed to strengthen the deterrent effect, so that these kinds of things don’t happen again, and it was proportional.”

Turkish artillery Thursday hit targets inside Syria in retaliation for Wednesday’s shelling that killed five Turkish nationals. Turkey said Syria apologized and vowed the incident would not happen again.

“We hope this doesn’t escalate into a broader conflict, we hope that the situation de-escalates,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.

“We are outraged by the Syrian government actions along the the Turkish border. We stand by our Turkish allies,” he insisted, adding “certainly we respect the inherent right of self-defense displayed by Turkey.”

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Turkey’s parliament has authorized military action against Syria, but insisted it was not a mandate for war as tensions soared between the neighbors.

“The intent in sending a very strong message was to deter future such aggression,” Nuland said, highlighting that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had promised to back Turkey as it seeks UN condemnation of the strike.

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The United States supports “a very strong statement that makes clear who’s responsible and holds them to account,” Nuland said.

But Russian objections to the draft UN statement condemning Syria’s shelling of Turkey meant the Security Council was still in consultations.

Asked whether there was any message to Turkey about the shelling, Nuland said: “The message is to the Syrian side that it needs to stop.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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