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Syrian foreign minister in Damascus
Photo: AFP
Turkey asks for clarification over Israeli fuel tanks
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan demands quick explanation from Israel over fuel tanks found in Turkey near its border with Syria that were allegedly dropped by Israeli aircraft, calling incident 'unacceptable'
Turkey on Monday called the discovery on its territory of fuel tanks allegedly dropped by Israeli aircraft "unacceptable," and Syria branded it a "hostile act."

 

Turkish officials complained to Israel over the weekend after the discovery of the unmarked fuel tanks near its border with Syria. Syria had alleged on Thursday that Israeli aircraft entered its airspace and dropped munitions.

 

"They dropped bombs over Syria, they dropped fuel tanks on Syrian soil," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Monday, during a visit to Turkey, accusing Israel of an "intentional and hostile act."

 

Warplanes sometimes drop extra fuel tanks to make the aircraft lighter and easier to maneuver.

 

"This is an unacceptable development," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said during the joint news conference with his Syrian counterpart.

 

"All countries in the region must show respect to all countries' sovereignty and carefully avoid acts that lead to tensions," Babacan said. "Otherwise, tensions would be fueled and peace and stability in the region might be harmed."

 

Turkey had demanded a prompt clarification from Israel and was still waiting for a response, Babacan said.

 

"Israel has openly shown that it has no intentions to make peace," al-Moallem said.

 

If the fuel tanks were proven to belong to Israeli aircraft, that would be the first concrete evidence that Israeli warplanes were in the area.

 

The incident has raised questions about why Israel would want to heighten tensions with Syria, its enemy to the north. Experts have speculated Israel might have been seeking information about long-range missiles pointed at Israel, testing Syrian air defense or trying out a possible air route to its archenemy Iran.

 

Turkey has close relations with Israel and in the past allowed Israeli aircraft to use its air bases and air space for training.

 

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