Turkish jet downs Syrian warplane near border
ISTANBUL — Turkish fighter jets shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday because it violated the country's airspace, Turkey's prime minister said, in a move likely to ramp up tensions between two countries deeply at odds over Syria's civil war.
A spokesman for Syria's military confirmed the incident, denouncing it as a “blatant aggression.” The unnamed spokesman quoted on Syrian state TV said the plane was hit while pursuing gunmen near the border and that the pilot safely ejected from the aircraft.
Turkey, a NATO member that once enjoyed good ties with Syria, has emerged as one of the strongest critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad and is one of the main backers of the three-year-old rebellion against him.
Despite protestations from Syria, there was little indication either side wanted the confrontation to escalate.
Syrian rebels began an offensive in the Kassab area of Latakia near the Turkish border on Friday. The rugged hills near the frontier have been engulfed in heavy fighting since then.
Activists and state media reported clashes near the town and said both sides dispatched reinforcements. Syrian officials said the opposition fighters were coming from inside Turkey.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported clashes between troops and rebels led by fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front near Kassab and a strategic hill known as “Observatory 45.”
State TV reported that Hilal Assad, the commander of the pro-government National Defense Forces, was killed in the fighting against opposition fighters in Kassab.
The commander was a member of Assad's family, but the station did not say whether they were close relatives.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Migrant surge: Europe ill-prepared for invasion of foreigners
- Beirut protests grow as summer garbage crisis lingers
- Al-Jazeera English journalists head to prison in Egypt
- Hezbollah support deepens trash crisis in Lebanon
- Lion kills safari guide in park where Cecil lived
- 11 officials, executives detained in China port blast
- Refugees race to Hungary as fence goes up
- Ukrainian filmmaker gets 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror attacks
- 5 killed in western India as demonstrators riot
- Polish official ‘convinced’ Nazi mystery train exists