Syrian border conflict devolving into 'worst-case scenarios', says Turkey

For the sixth day, troops on both sides lobbed mortar and artillery shells at each other as Anakra attempted to keep the bloody civil war in Syria from spilling across its border. 

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"The worst-case scenarios are taking place right now in Syria" Gül told reporters on Monday. 

"Our government is in constant consultation with the Turkish military. Whatever is needed is being done immediately, as you see, and it will continue to be done," he added. 

Gül's assessment comes as top defense ministers, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, are meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss the way ahead in Afghanistan, as well as other pressing issues facing the alliance. 

NATO has characterized the Syrian attack as "flagrant breach" of international law, creating a "clear and present danger" to a key ally, according to an alliance statement issued last Wednesday. 

Gül reiterated that the border violence between Turkey and Syria was the clearest sign that the international community needed to step in and push President Bashar Assad from power. 

"There will be a change, a transition sooner or later. ... It is a must for the international community to take effective action before Syria turns into a bigger wreck and further blood is shed, that is our main wish," said Gül.

The White House has been steadfast in its claims that Assad will only be removed from office as a result of mounting economic and political pressure from the international community. 

However, Washington has reportedly provided rebel forces with intelligence support and non-lethal aid to continue their fight against the Assad regime. 

Hostilities between the two regional powers began last Wednesday, when Syrian forces fired a barrage of mortar shells at the Turkish border town of Akçakale, killing five and wounding nine in the attack. 

Turkish forces responded with counterstrike inside Syria under new rules of engagement, drafted by Ankara after a Turkish F-4 fighter jet was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea by Syrian forces in June. 

Emergency consultations between Turkey and top NATO leaders shortly after the initial Syrian strike yielded little by way of resolving the burgeoning crisis. 

The following day, members of the Turkish parliament took the bold step of authorizing unilateral military action against Syria.

At the time, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told The Associated Press that parliament's decision should not be interpreted as an act of war against Syria. Rather, the move was intended to be a guarantee that Syria's violent conflict with anti-government rebels looking to oust Assad does not bleed over into Turkey.  

Syrian forces have repeatedly been involved in small skirmishes along the border, as they attempt to kill anti-Assad rebels fleeing the country into Turkey. 

In May, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter after Assad forces again fired into Turkish territory in pursuit of rebel fighters. 

Article 5 claims that an attack against one NATO member can be considered an attack on the entire alliance.