ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Several mortar bombs and gunfire from a part of Syria controlled by Islamic State hit a Turkish border town on Wednesday, close to where Turkish soldiers were clearing landmines, local residents and media reports said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in the town of Karkamis, which sits across the border from Syria’s Jarablus, controlled by the radical Sunni militants.
A local official in Karkamis, reached by phone, said at least two mortar bombs landed in the town and that he had subsequently heard outgoing artillery fire, suggesting that the Turkish army had responded.
There was no immediate comment from the Turkish military.
Turkish soldiers clearing mines along the border area were also shot at from Jarablus, the Dogan News Agency reported, adding that the army has responded in kind.
The Turkish armed forces have repeatedly fired back when shot at from across the border, in line with their rules of engagement. But Wednesday’s incident occurred in a particularly sensitive area, with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia also controlling territory close by.
The YPG is battling Islamic State in northern Syria with military support from the United States, but is viewed by Turkey as a terrorist group with close links to Kurdish PKK militants who have waged a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Katharine Houreld