Turkey OKs Military Ops in Syria as Shelling Continues
Syria apologizes for civilian deaths
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2012 7:44 AM CDT
Updated Oct 4, 2012 8:24 AM CDT
Riot police use pepper gas against the Turks protesting against a possible war with Syria during a debate at Turkey's parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Turkey continued shelling Syria for a second day today, reportedly killing several government soldiers, after Syrian shells killed at least five civilians in a Turkish border town yesterday. In what a prime minister's aide calls a warning to Syria, Turkey's parliament today authorized military operations inside Syria, even without the backing of Turkey's Arab or Western allies. The move, which Turkey stresses is not a declaration of war, could turn Syria's civil conflict into a regional one, the New York Times reports. For its part, Syria "has admitted what it did and apologized," according to Turkey's deputy prime minister.

Also in Syria: Reuters reports that rebels ambushed an army minibus and killed 21 elite Republican Guards today near Damascus. But the rebels are struggling to draw new defectors to their side, the New York Times reports. In the early days of the conflict, defections poured in, but they've slowed—leading some opposition commanders to give up on recruiting entirely, while others have been attempting to persuade or even trick Syrian military troops into defecting. Some have even been drugged and kidnapped or forced to defect at gunpoint.