Syria: We Thought Downed Turkish Plane Was Israeli

researchok6/28/2012 1:04:20 am PDT


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Syria knew it was a Turkish jet: intel

Syrian officials were fully aware that a jet their forces downed on June 22 was Turkish as they used the Turkish word for “neighbor” to refer to the aircraft, a Turkish intelligence official has said, according to daily Hrriyet.

Damascus had claimed that officials were unaware of the jet’s nationality, but Turkish intelligence units have disputed such reports.

“We have recordings of the Syrian dialogues before and after,” a Turkish intelligence officer said. “They refer to our jet as ‘komşu’ [neighbor]. They use the Turkish word, and then they use the Arabic word for plane.”

The jet already had its identification, friend or foe (IFF) system turned on, allowing it to be recognized by others, another official added.

Syria Knew Identity of Jet Before Shooting It, Turkey Says

Syrian forces knew the identity of a Turkish military jet before shooting it down over international airspace, according to Turkey’s ambassador to the United Nations.

“Radio communication among Syrian authorities clearly demonstrates that the Syrian units were fully aware of the circumstances and the fact that the aircraft belonged to Turkey,” Ertugrul Apakan said in a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon obtained yesterday. He said Syrian forces also shot at a Turkish rescue plane even after Turkey “established coordination with the Syrian authorities.”

Syria’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, said yesterday that the shooting of the plane took place inside the country’s airspace and was a defensive act following a “clear violation of Syrian sovereignty.” He also described it as an “accident.”

Turkey’s latest allegations about last week’s events off the coast of Syria further raised tensions ahead of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting on the incident in Brussels today. It was convened by Turkey, which has said it will respond decisively to the Syrian attack. Relations between the neighbors and former allies were already strained by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on anti-government protesters, which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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