NATO to Meet after Turkey Accuses Syria of Downing Jet in Int’l Airspaceإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
NATO said it will hold an emergency meeting after Ankara on Sunday accused Syria of downing a Turkish jet in international airspace, raising fears that tensions could soar in the tinderbox region.
While admitting that a Turkish F-4 phantom jet briefly strayed into Syrian territory on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was clearly out of it when it was shot down.
"According to our conclusions, our plane was shot down in international airspace, 13 nautical miles from Syria," he said in a television interview.
"The plane did not show any sign of hostility toward Syria and was shot down about 15 minutes after having momentarily violated Syrian airspace," he said.
Syria did not issue a warning before shooting down the plane, which was on an unarmed training mission to carry out a radar system test.
"The Syrians knew full well that it was a Turkish military plane and the nature of its mission," he said, adding that the plane was flying by itself and was not "on any mission, including information gathering, above Syria."
"Nobody should dare put Turkey's (military) capabilities to the test," Davutoglu warned. "No-one can threaten Turkey's security."
"Turkey will act with restraint but determination," he said. "We will bring this affair before public opinion and international law in the name of Turkey's honor."
NATO said it will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday following a request from Turkey that invoked Article 4 of the alliance's founding treaty under which members can request a meeting if their security is threatened.
"The North Atlantic Council will meet on Tuesday at Turkey's request," said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.
And U.N. Security Council member Britain warned that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime "should not make the mistake of believing that it can act with impunity."
"It will be held to account for its behavior," Foreign Secretary William Hague said, adding that London was ready to pursue "robust action" at the Security Council.
Syria has said it took out the F-4 phantom jet on Friday after it violated its airspace.
Search and rescue teams have located the wreckage of the jet, CNN-Turk television reported on Sunday.
The wreckage has been found at a depth of 1,300 meters, it said, without giving its precise location. The Turkish foreign ministry said it could not confirm the report.