`Turkey aborts attack on Syria at last minute`

Turkey chose not to attack Syria because of the political risk attached to such a bombing campaign.

Updated: Jul 19, 2012, 18:17 PM IST

Istanbul: Turkey abandoned the idea of bombing Syria`s anti-aircraft weapons and missile systems on the borders at the last minute in the wake of last month`s downing of a Turkish jet, local Daily Sabah reported on Thursday.

The daily said Turkish F-16 warplanes were reportedly prepared to fly to Syria to conduct the bombings when the bodies of the downed jet`s pilots were found in the sea.

However, the Turkish armed forces held back because they were not familiar enough with the Russian antiaircraft systems deployed in Syria and it had not yet been revealed how the Turkish jet had been shot down, the newspaper said.

Most importantly, according to the report, Turkey chose not to attack because of the political risk attached to such a bombing campaign.

The authorities decided that attacking Syria could damage Turkey`s image as it has been supporting the Middle Eastern peace efforts, according to the daily.

Syria downed the Turkish jet on June 22. Turkey claimed that the plane was shot in international airspace with a heat or laser- guided missile, but Syria rejected the claims, saying that the Turkish jet was shot by anti-aircraft gunners as it was flying at an altitude of 100 meters within Syrian airspace.