Washington: Expressing grave concern over downing of a Turkish F-4 fighter jet by Syrian forces, the US has said that it will consult with NATO, the UN Security Council and its international partners on the next steps.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made such a strong statement after speaking to her Turkish counterpart during which the two leaders discussed the situation in the region after the shooting down of the Turkish fighter jets by Syria on Friday last.
"I spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister (Ahmet) Davutoglu yesterday to convey our grave concern about the downing of a Turkish F-4 fighter jet by Syrian forces on June 22. I also told him that our thoughts and prayers are with the missing pilots and their loved ones," Hillary said.
The Turkish Foreign Minister briefed her on the specifics of the incident, including that the Syrian military shot its plane down without warning.
"The US condemns this brazen and unacceptable act in the strongest possible terms. It is yet another reflection of the Syrian authorities` callous disregard for international norms, human life, and peace and security," she said.
Hillary said the US reaffirms its strong support for the Turkish Government and its solidarity with the Turkish people in the wake of this incident.
"We will maintain close contact with Turkish officials as they continue to investigate the incident and determine Turkey`s response, including in the Security Council. We will work with Turkey and other partners to hold the Assad regime accountable," she said.
Noting that Turkey has been a leader in the international community`s effort to address the Syrian regime`s violence against its own people, Hillary said the two countries will continue their close cooperation as part of their broader efforts to promote a democratic transition in Syria.
"This work is urgent, and we will be consulting in New York with the Security Council, in Brussels with NATO and the EU, and in Geneva with Special Envoy Kofi Annan on next steps," Hillary said.