Syria apparently shot down a Turkish F-4 fighter jet over the Mediterranean Sea earlier today.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters at a news conference covered by NBC News he could not say whether the plane had crashed or been shot down.This has the potential for being the rationale for getting NATO involved in the Syrian civil war.
He said he had no word on the fate of the plane's two airmen.
"The chief of general staff has made the necessary statement about the missing plane. I am not saying 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.
Turkish ships and helicopters were searching for the airmen in cooperation with Syrian vessels, Erdogan said.
He said he wasn't aware of any Syrian claims of responsibility for bringing down the plane or of earlier reports that Syrian authorities had apologized.
Earlier, Lebanon's Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar television station said that Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish military aircraft, quoting Syrian security sources.
I fully expect Syria to claim that this was an accident/misunderstanding/failure to communicate, etc., while Turkey might try to minimize the severity of the incident as well, since they're generally on talking terms with Assad.
However, there have been several incidents since the uprising began that saw Syrian forces fire on or into Turkey and the Turkish government has increasingly grown tired of the violence in Syria and the strain on humanitarian resources near the border with Syria from the flow of refugees.
Labels: Bashar al-Assad, Civil War, diplomacy, Lebanon, Middle East, Military, NATO, Turkey