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Activists: Syrian warplanes pound Homs

By Barbara Surk

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Oct. 5 2012 7:16 a.m. MDT

Syria's government has always blamed the uprising on what it calls foreign terrorists, despite months of peaceful protests that turned violent after repeated attacks by security forces. The transformation of the conflict into an open war has given an opportunity to foreign fighters and extremists, analysts say.

State TV said troops foiled an attempt by rebels to detonate a car bomb near the Red Crescent Hospital in the Aziziyah neighborhood of Aleppo, added that experts are dismantling the explosives.

Also Friday, Turkey deployed troops along the border with Syria, the day after Turkish parliament approved a bill that authorizes the military to conduct operations outside Turkish border, including Syria. The Associated Press reporter saw Turkish soldiers patrolling the area on foot and in armored personnel vehicles.

People in the border town of Akcakale, where the Syrian shell landed on Wednesday, feared more violence in the volatile border area.

Halil Deniz, who lives in Oncul, says he still fears for his life. Oncul is a village on the Turkey-Syria border to which people fled from Akcakale, where five civilians died when a Syrian shell hit it.

"We do not know if we will live or die," Deniz said. "Children go to other villages in the evenings, and return back when the next day dawns."

"Our store owners, our citizens and our children are all very concerned. We did not sleep until morning," said Ahmet Sabritur, who resides in Akcakale. He praised Turkey's military response to the Syrian shelling, saying that Damascus should be made aware that deaths of Turkish civilians will not go unpunished.

"If our government had not retaliated, maybe it could have been worse," Sabritur said. "They (the Syrians) could have attacked this town a second time."

Turkey's artillery pounded targets inside Syria for two days in retaliation for the killings. Although both Damascus and Ankara moved Thursday to calm tensions, the parliament's approval of the cross border operations made it clear that Turkey is retaining a military option if threatened.

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Associated Press writer Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Mehmet Guzel in Akcakale, Turkey, contributed to this report.

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