Zee Media Bureau/Neha Attre
Beirut: Syria reportedly accused Turkey of increasing tension between the two countries as it shot down former’s fighter plane that had "mistakenly" entered its airspace.
Syrian military issued a statement on Tuesday claiming that the helicopter entered Turkey’s airspace for a short distance by “mistake” and was on an official mission to check movement of rebels across border, as per a news agency report.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, had said that the Syrian helicopter was shot down by a fighter jet after it entered Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings to leave.
He said the helicopter strayed 2 kilometers (more than 1 mile) inside Turkey, but crashed inside Syria after being hit by missiles fired from the jet.
Arinc said he did not have any information on the fate of the Syrian pilots, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel fighters captured one of the two crew members, while the fate of the other one was unclear.
"The hasty reaction from the Turkish side, particularly that the helicopter was heading back and was not on a fighting mission, reveals the real intentions" of Ankara to ramp up tensions, it said.
Turkey has been at odds with the Syrian government since early in the country`s civil war and has backed the Syrian rebels, while advocating international intervention in the conflict.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking in Paris after meetings about Syria with his counterparts from other countries, said Monday`s incident should send a message. "Nobody will dare to violate Turkey`s borders in any way again," he said, according to Anatolia, the Turkish state-run news agency. "The necessary measures have been taken."
(With Agency Inputs)