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Middle east

Syrian forces fired at second plane, says Turkey

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-25

Turkish deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said in a news conference Monday that Syrian forces opened fire unsuccessfully on a second Turkish plane which was on a search-and-rescue mission for the F-4 jet shot down by Syria last week.

AFP - Turkish Vice Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Monday said the shooting down of a fighter jet was a "hostile act of the highest order" by Syria and claimed a rescue plane was also attacked.

Arinc also told a news conference after a cabinet meeting to discuss Friday's incident, which has fuelled fresh tensions between the once close neighbours, that Ankara could halt power supplies to Damascus.

"To target an aircraft in this fashion without any warning is a hostile act of the highest order," he said, adding that the F-4 Phantom was struck by a heat-seeking guided missile.

He also said Syrian troops opened fire on a rescue plane searching for the pilots but did not specify when.

"One of our CASA planes took off with a rescue team. Unfortunately, shots from the ground targeted our plane.

"Our foreign ministry and our military command notified Syrian authorities and this harassment ceased immediately," Arinc said.

The NATO alliance is to hold an emergency meeting on Friday's incident in Brussels on Tuesday at the request of member nation Turkey.

Turkey-Syria relations were already strained by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's outspoken condemnation of the Syrian regime's bloody crackdown, which rights activists say has killed more than 15,000 people since March 2011.

Arinc warned that Ankara could switch off power exports, saying: "We have considered that for humanitarian reasons one should supply electricity to Syria so that the daily lives of the people are not affected.

"For the moment we will continue with this... but in one or two days there will be a declaration whether we will continue or not."

 

Date created : 2012-06-25

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