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Turkey asks U.N. Security Council to act after Syria attack

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Turkey on Wednesday asked the U.N. Security Council to take the "necessary action" to stop Syrian aggression and ensure that the government there respect Turkish territorial sovereignty after a mortar bomb fired from Syria killed five Turkish civilians.

"This is an act of aggression by Syria against Turkey," Turkish U.N. Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan said in a letter to the president of the 15-nation Security Council, Guatemalan Ambassador Gert Rosenthal.

"It constitutes a flagrant violation of international law as well as a breach of international peace and security," said the letter, which was obtained by Reuters.

U.N. diplomats said the council was hoping to issue a non-binding statement on Thursday that would condemn the mortar attack "in the strongest terms" and demand an end to violations of Turkey's territorial sovereignty.

Council members had originally hoped to issue the statement on Wednesday but Russia asked for a delay, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

A draft of the council statement seen by Reuters would have its 15 members declare that attack was a "demonstration of the spilling over of the crisis in Syria into neighboring states to an alarming degree."

"Such violations of international law constitute a serious threat to international peace and security," says the draft council statement, which envoys said was prepared by Azerbaijan.

It was possible Russia would demand changes to the language.

Turkey did not specify the kind of action it would like the council to take.

"Turkey kindly requests for the Security Council to take necessary action to put an end to such acts of aggression and to ensure that Syria respects Turkey's sovereignty, territorial integrity and security," Apakan wrote.

It was unlikely that the council would do anything more than issue a statement for the time being. The Security Council has been deadlocked on Syria's 18-month-long conflict for more than a year.

Russia, a staunch ally of Syria's, and China have vetoed three resolutions condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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