Turkey has struck targets across the border in Syria in retaliation for the shelling of a Turkish town that killed five people, according to the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara said that the town of Akcakale "was hit by artillery fire belonging to the Syrian regime forces.”
The victims were reportedly four children and one woman.
In addition, the shell wounded at least nine other people.
"Our armed forces on the border responded immediately to this atrocious attack within the rules of engagement, and points in Syria determined by radar were hit with artillery fire," the statement added.
"Turkey, within the confines of the rules of engagement and international law, will never leave these types of provocations aimed at our national security unanswered."
In response to the escalating tensions in the region, NATO held an emergency meeting Wednesday night. The alliance issued a statement calling the Syrian shelling “a flagrant breach of international law and a clear and present danger to the security of one of its allies.”
Although NATO pledged to continue to “stand by Turkey,” it proposed no immediate action, the Washington Post reported.
The White House and Pentagon also condemned Syria, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated support for Turkey in a telephone call with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotoglu and pledged that the United States would stand by Turkey in any future discussions of the crisis at the United Nations, according to State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland.
"It (the latest mortar round) hit right in the middle of the neighborhood. The wife and four children from the same family died," Ahmet Emin Meşhurgül, local head of the Turkish Red Crescent in Akcakale, told Reuters.
"People here are anxious, because we got hit before. Security forces tried to convince people to empty the neighborhood near the border, but now we've been hit right in the middle of the town.”
A spokesman for Turkey’s foreign ministry, Selcuk Unal, a told CNN that his boss, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, has reached out to Arab League and U.N. special envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, about the incident.
Ban ki-moon, the UN secretary-general has condemned the shelling by Syria.
"The secretary-general has repeatedly warned that the ongoing militarization of the conflict in Syria is leading to tragic results for the Syrian people," Ban said.
"Today's incidents, where firing from Syria struck a Turkish town, again demonstrated how Syria's conflict is threatening not only the security of the Syrian people but increasingly causing harm to its neighbors."
Syria has yet to respond to Turkey’s comments, but relations between Ankara and Damascus (once close allies) have deteriorated steadily since the brutal crackdown on opponents by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.
Erdogan has repeatedly and aggressively condemned the brutality of Assad’s regime during the crisis.
Turkey is already home to at least 100,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the country since the uprising.