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Turkish jet shot down by Syria?
Military aircraft crashes over Syrian waters after being intercepted by Assad's defense forces, media reports claim; Erdogan convenes emergency meeting with ministers

Turkey said on Friday it had lost contact with one of its military aircraft while it was over the sea off the southeastern coast, and a television station said it had crashed in Syrian territorial waters.

 

Hezbollah's al-Manar television and Pro-Iranian Al-Mayadeen television station, which are both based in Lebanon, reported that the plane was shot down by Syrian defense forces. "Syrian security sources confirmed to a Manar correspondent in Damascus that Syrian defence forces shot down the Turkish fighter jet," the Hezbollah-owned channel said.

 

According to Turkish magazine Haberturk and other media outlets, Damascus apologized to Ankara over the incident.

 

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Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he could not say whether a Turkish warplane which went missing off the southeastern coast was shot down or crashed.

He also said he had no word of any apology from Syria.

 

"The Chief of General Staff has made the necessary statement about the missing plane. I cannot say it was brought down at the point it fell. It is not possible to say this without knowing the exact facts," Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara.

 

Erdogan said Turkish ships and helicopters were searching for the missing pilots together with Syrian ships, adding that he had no news on their whereabouts or condition.

 

He said he had no information on claims Syrian authorities had captured the missing pilots.

 

In a statement, Turkey's military said a search and rescue operation was underway. It lost radar and radio contact with the plane after it took off from Erhac Airport in the eastern province of Malatya, which borders Syria.

 

Hurriyet daily newspaper reported that the plane had gone down in international waters and that the two airmen had been found alive and well by Turkish forces.

 

Turkey, which had drawn close to Syria before the uprising against Assad, became one of the Syrian leader's fiercest critics when he responded violently to pro-democracy protests inspired by popular upheavals elsewhere in the Arab world.

 

Ankara has previously floated the possibility of setting up some kind of safe haven or humanitarian corridor inside Syria, which would entail military intervention, but has said it would undertake no such action without UN Security Council approval..

 

 

 

 


First published: 22.06.12, 16:53
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