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UN Security Council reaches Syrian attack resolution

The United Nations Security Council reached an agreement late Thursday on a resolution condemning a Syrian attack on the Turkish town of Alcakale which killed five civilians, all women and children, on Wednesday.

Diplomats taking part in the negotiations said an accord was reached between a draft text supported by Western powers and parts of a proposal tabled by Russia.

Following hours of negotiations, Council President, Guatemala's Ambassador, Gert Rosenthal presented the 15-nation council statement condemning "in the strongest terms the shelling from the Syrian territory of the Turkish town of Alcakale."

"The members of the Security council underscored that this incident highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on the security of its neighbors and on regional peace and stability," the statement went on to say.

It further requested the Syrian government respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring countries.

Call to work together

Earlier on Thursday, diplomats said Russia had objected to sections of the draft statement. The staunch allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad's ruling party recommended both the Syrian government and opposition forces be censured in the resolution.

Rosethal instead read from the statement condemning Syria and calling on all parties in the conflict to show self-discipline.

"The members of the Security Council call for restraint" from both countries, Rosenthal added.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday appealed for Turkey and Syria to work together to ease tensions along their joint border, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Nesirky said Ban "repeatedly made clear his concerns about a spill over in the Syrian crises into neighboring countries as occurred [Wednesday] with Turkey."

"The risk of a regional conflict and the threat to international peace and security are also increasing" with the latest developments, including the "atrocious" shelling in Aleppo which "killed dozens of people," Nesirky added.

UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, Nesirky said, "had contacted the governments in Damascus and Ankara to urge restraint."

Turkish officials said Syria had apologized though the UN for the attack and had promised such an incident would not occur again.

Turkey: 'Decision is not for war'

The Turkish parliament on Thursday voted to make possible the deployment of troops beyond its borders if necessary. The bill gives the government the legal authority to attack Syrian targets with troops and warplanes for up to one year.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said, however, that the decision did not put the country on a war footing.

"This decision is not for war... It has deterrent qualities," he said.

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany condemned the attacks by Syria in the strongest terms, and assured that her government "remained on Turkey's side."

jlw, jr/jm (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa) 

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