Syria shoots down Turkish warplane: Report

Published: June 22, 2012
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The two middle eastern neighbours are at bitter odds over the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al Assad. PHOTO: REUTERS

The two middle eastern neighbours are at bitter odds over the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al Assad. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIRUT: Syria shot down a Turkish warplane on Friday, Lebanon’s al Manar television reported, risking a new crisis between Middle Eastern neighbours already at bitter odds over a 16-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

“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.

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.

Turkey said it had lost contact with one of its military aircraft off its southeastern coast, and a television station said it had crashed in Syrian territorial waters.

CNN Turk television said Turkey was in contact with the Syrian authorities to get permission to conduct a search for the airmen, although there was no immediate official confirmation.

Turkey’s military said a search and rescue operation was under way. It lost radar and radio contact with the plane after it left Erhac airport in the eastern province of Malatya.

Two crew were aboard the F-4 jet, Turkish state news agency Anatolia said, citing Malatya governor Ulvi Saran.

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.

Violence in Syria raged on unabated.

Rebels killed at least 25 members of a mainly Alawi pro-Assad militia and troops killed 10 anti-Assad protesters in the northern city of Aleppo, opposition activists said.

The violence, which followed a day of bloodshed across Syria in which 125 deaths were reported, is further evidence of a slide towards sectarian-tinged civil war in a country where majority Sunnis are spearheading an anti-Assad revolt.

Russia, one of Assad’s strongest backers abroad, said the Syrian authorities were ready to withdraw troops from cities, a main plank of envoy Kofi Annan’s never-implemented peace plan, “simultaneously” with rebels.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his Syrian counterpart that he had urged Syria to “do a lot more” to implement Annan’s UN-backed proposals, but that foreign countries must also press rebels to stop the violence.

Hundreds of people have been killed in Syria since the UN-Arab League mediator announced his six-point plan on April 12 and there was no let-up in the violence on Friday.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • shazada zahid mahmoud malik loan
    Jun 22, 2012 - 9:19PM

    The Russians are fooling themselves and will find their stubborness rewarded by an assault on their forces occupying Dagestan. It is a matter of time that the Dagestan Liberation Front drives out the Russian Imperial forces from the region.

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  • khalsa
    Jun 22, 2012 - 10:47PM

    @shazada zahid mahmoud malik loan:
    syria is not dagestan and turkey not russia. are you all right!!

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  • klatuberatanicto
    Jun 22, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Wrong planes in the pictures. Those are F-16c’s pictured, the missing Turkish plane was an F-4 Phantom. Just FYI.

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  • Ali tanoli
    Jun 23, 2012 - 12:31AM

    syria regime must leave why no one want to end his bruitility.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jun 23, 2012 - 2:11AM

    @Ali tanoli: syria regime must leave why no one want to end his bruitility.

    NATO and US want to end the brutality. But Pakistan is supporting Syria because it is a Muslim nation without considering that the thousands that rebeing killed are also Muslim.

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  • Adil
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:00AM

    @ayesha_khan:

    And you are SO sure that NATO and USA have a sincere motive after what they did in Libya,I am not supporting Assad though.

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  • Noise
    Jun 23, 2012 - 9:46AM

    Theres a campaign to destroy Syria with the Gulf Arabs and the West supporting these ‘rebels’. That Turkish plane was probably sent to check whether or not the Syrians had grown lax. God help the Syrians.

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