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Turkey declares Syrian peace plan 'dead' as Assad's troops fire across border

April 10, 2012 - Ankara

The Turkish government has declared a UN-backed peace plan to end the Syrian crisis was dead after President Bashar al-Assad's armed forces opened fire into Turkey and Lebanon.

The unprecedented cross-border battles, which claimed the lives of a TV journalist in Lebanon and at least two people in a refugee camp in Turkey, came just hours before a ceasefire deadline came into force.

According to Turkish officials, Syrian troops pursued rebels across the border following an attack on a checkpoint that killed six soldiers.

Two Syrian nationals, described as civilian, were subsequently shot dead as they tried to escape to the nearby Killis refugee camp, The Telegraph reports.

According to the paper, five more people, including a Turkish policeman, were later shot and wounded, this time indisputably on Turkish soil.

Later Lebanon's Al-Jadeed Television network said that one of its cameramen, Ali Shabaan, died after Syrian troops opened fire on his car on the Lebanese side of the border.

According to the paper, Lebanon's government, dominated by the Shia Islamist group Hizbollah, which is funded by the Assad regime, is unlikely to protest too vigorously.

But the incident could prove destabilising in a country whose Sunni and Christian populations deeply resent Syrian influence.

Turkey, however, has been vocal in its scepticism of a peace plan brokered by Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria, that is meant to reach fruition this week.


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