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Car bombs near Turkey Syria border killed 40

Twin car bombs killed at least 40 people near Turkey's border with Syria on Saturday, increasing fears that Syria's civil war was dragging in neighbours and drawing a swift warning from Ankara not to test its resolve. Turkey supports the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was no coincidence the attacks in the town of Reyhanli came as diplomatic moves to end the conflict intensify. "There may be those who want to sabotage Turkey's peace, but we will not allow that," Davutoglu told reporters during a trip to Berlin. "No-one should attempt to test Turkey's power, our security forces will take all necessary measures."
 
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
 
Many homes and vehicles were destroyed due to the blasts.
 
NATO member Turkey has been one of Assad's harshest critics and has harboured both Syrian refugees and rebels during the uprising against him, now in its third year.
 
Prospects appeared to improve this week for diplomacy over the civil war, in which more than 70,000 people have been killed, after Moscow and Washington announced a joint effort to bring government and rebels to an international conference.
 
But a Russian official said on Saturday that there was already disagreement over who would represent the opposition and he doubted whether a meeting could happen this month.
 
DEATH TOLL MAY RISE
 
Smoke rose above Reyhanli, which lies in Turkey's southern Hatay province, after the blasts, which occurred close to local administrative buildings.
 
Car bombs in the southern Turkish town of Reyhanli near the border with Syria killed 40 people on Saturday, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said.
 
"The number of people who were killed or injured is more than 100 now. More than 30 people were killed, and the number of people injured has increased," Ergin told Turkish broadcaster NTV.
 
Attacks may have been related to the conflict in Syria or to Turkey's own peace process with Kurdish militants, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said.
 
"We are going through sensitive times, we started a new era, the Kurdish issue solution process. Those who cannot digest this new era ... could take such actions," Erdogan said in comments broadcast on Turkish television.
 
"Another sensitive issue is that Hatay province (where the explosions occurred) is on the border with Syria, these actions may have been taken to provoke those sensitivities," he said.
 
Erdogan said this week that Turkey would support a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone in Syria and warned that Damascus crossed President Barack Obama's "red line" on chemical weapons use long ago.
 
A no-fly zone to prohibit Syrian military aircraft from hitting rebel targets has been mentioned by American lawmakers as one option the United States could use to pressure Assad.
 
Erdogan is due to meet Obama in Washington on May 16.
 
Violence has spilled over the border before.
 
In February, a minibus blew up at a border crossing near Reyhanli, killing 14 people and wounding dozens more.
 
The Syrian opposition said one of its delegations appeared to have been the target of that attack, but there has been no confirmation of this from the Turkish authorities.
 
In October, five Turkish civilians were killed in Akcakale when a mortar bomb fired from Syria landed on their house, prompting Turkey to fire back across the frontier.
 
Turkey is sheltering more than 300,000 Syrians, most of them in camps along the 900-km (560-mile) frontier, and is struggling to keep up with the influx.
 
Ensuing Chaos
 
Panic spread among the residents of Reyhanli following the explosions.
 
According to the information received, tens of native locals attacked Syrian refugees on the streets and in vehicles, and the police had to fire rounds into the air to disperse the crowds.
 
These are also claims that the camps housing asylum seekers have been attacks, but it is indicated that these claims are being transmitted via social media in order to spread chaos in the city.
 
Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin on Saturday said that the blasts in Reyhanli town today had a purpose.
 
Speaking to reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport before departing for Hatay, Ergin stressed that the blasts in Reyhanli took place to push the people of Hatay to a certain position.
 
"My brothers in Hatay and Reyhanli are mature to understand such initiatives," Ergin stated.
 
"We must now be even tempered and act with common sense," Ergin underlined.

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