The Latest: shells fired from Syria reportedly hit Turkey

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 10:48 AM

m. A Turkish news agency says shells fired from Syria have hit southern Turkey, the fourth such cross-border incident in less than a week. The private Dogan news agency says the shells struck two areas of the city middle of Kilis Wednesday morning, triggering panic.

The Latest: shells fired from Syria reportedly hit Turkey

The Latest on the Syrian civil war (all times local):

10:15 a. m.

A Turkish news agency says shells fired from Syria have hit southern Turkey, the fourth such cross-border incident in less than a week.

The private Dogan news agency says the shells struck two areas of the city middle of Kilis Wednesday morning, triggering panic. The agency said the shells landed on vacant land causing number casualties. Police were dispatched to the affected area.

Turkey'south military systematically retaliates to rockets or shells that land on Turkish territory in line with its rules of engagement.

On Tuesday, Turkish artillery units fired at Islamic State grouping targets in Syria after a salvo of rockets hit the middle of Kilis, killing one person and wounding seven others.

The wider province of Kilis borders areas in Syria that are controlled by the Islamic State group, Syrian Kurdish militia or anti-government Syrian rebels.

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9:30 a. m.

Syrians in government-controlled areas headed to polling stations Wednesday to the chosen a new 250-member parliament that's expected to serve as a rubber stamp for President Bashar Assad.

Shortly after the stations opened at seventh a. m. (four hundred GMT) people began turning up. Around 3.500 government-approved candidates are competing after more than seventh.000 others dropped out.

Parliament elections in Syria are held every four years, and Damascus says the vote is constitutional and separate from the peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the war.

But the opposition says it contributes to an unfavorable climate for negotiations amid ferocious fighting that threatens an increasingly tenuous cease-fire engineered by the United States and Russia.

Western leaders and members of the opposition have denounced the process as a phony and a provocation that undermines the Geneva peace talks.

In the Syrian capital, voters said they fully supported holding the elections on time.

"I perceive pleased today because the elections are a national and democratic duty any honest citizen should practice," said Wahid Chahine, a 54-year-old government employee, after casting his ballot at a Damascus polling station.

He said the voting is constitutional and shouldn't be postponed, despite millions of other Syrians being unable to take part.

""I hope in the following elections all Syrians will be able to vote and that Syria would be free from all terrorists," he added.

Marah Hammoud, a 21-year-old journalism learner from the central city of Homs, said it's necessary at this specific time in Syria for people to be able to select their representatives.

"We wish elected executive who care about the people, who can assistance finish this war and control prices," she said. "We live on this hope."

The election, in which soldiers are being allowed to vote for the first time, will be conducted only in areas below government control.

Voting stations have been set up in twelfth of Syria's fourteen provinces. The northern province of Raqqa is controlled by the Islamic State group, and the northwestern province of Idlib is controlled by its rival, the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, as well as other insurgent factions. The government has number presence in either province.

Polls near at 7 p. m. (one thousand six hundred GMT), but could stay open longer if turnout is high. The results are expected Thursday.

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