BAB AL-SALAM, Syria (Reuters) – A Syrian rebel commander told Reuters on Sunday that 11 kidnapped Lebanese Shi’ites are staying in air-conditioned rooms and are in good health but will not be released until President Bashar al-Assad leaves power and a new parliament is elected.
“Their health is good and they’re fine and they’re eating and drinking well, staying in a farm with full comfort and air conditioning, and they’re alive,” Abu Omar, commander of the Storm of the North brigade, told Reuters at the Bab al-Salam border crossing with Turkey, which his men had overrun on Sunday.
ANKARA (Reuters) – The Turkish military on Friday tried to damp down speculation about the loss of one of its warplanes last month, repeating its assertion the jet was shot down by Syria and by something other than anti-aircraft fire.
Speculation in Turkey has been mounting since the armed forces released a written statement on Wednesday that appeared to contradict previous official accounts of the June 22 incident and suggested the military may be revising its initial stance.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish armed forces statements over the loss of a warplane off the Syrian coast last month are fuelling speculation the military may be revising its initial assertion the plane was shot down by Syrian air defenses in international airspace.
Turkish government spokesman Bulent Arinc, seeking to allay confusion over apparent contradictions emerging in official accounts of the plane’s loss along with its two pilots, reasserted the original version to reporters on Thursday.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey scrambled six F-16 fighter jets in three separate incidents responding to Syrian military helicopters approaching the border on Sunday, its armed forces command said on Monday.
It was the second time in as many days Turkish jets were launched in response to Syrian helicopters flying near the border and comes after a Turkish reconnaissance plane was shot down by Syria late last month.
ANKARA (Reuters) – A Syrian general and 38 other soldiers defected to Turkey overnight, state television said on Monday, days after Syria shot down a Turkish warplane, escalating tensions between the two neighbours.
Turkey has summoned a NATO meeting for Tuesday to agree a response to the downing of its military reconnaissance jet in what it says was an attack without warning carried out over international airspace.
ANKARA, June 25 (Reuters) – Turkey has accused Syria of
shooting down one of its military reconnaissance jets in
international airspace without warning and summoned a NATO
meeting for Tuesday to agree a response to Syrian President
Turkey’s cabinet was due to meet on Monday to discuss
Friday’s incident, which lent a more threatening international
dimension to the 16-month-old uprising against Assad. Britain
called the attack over the eastern Mediterranean outrageous and
said it stood ready to back strong action in the United Nations.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey said on Sunday Syria had shot down its military aircraft in international airspace on Friday without warning and declared it would formally consult its NATO allies on a reaction.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking some 48 hours after the jet was shot down near both countries’ sea borders, told state broadcaster TRT the plane had been clearly marked as Turkish and dismissed Syria’s earlier statement it had not known the plane belonged to Turkey.
ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu phoned world powers on Saturday to brief them about the downing of one of Ankara’s planes by Syria as a joint search for the airmen, who were shot down over the Mediterranean, tried to locate them.
Signals from both sides suggested neither wanted a military confrontation over Friday’s incident as the search focused its efforts near a Turkish province that hosts thousands of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Saturday it was not possible to ignore the fact that Syria had shot down a Turkish fighter jet and said everything that needed to be done following the incident would be done, Turkish media reported.
“It is not possible to cover over a thing like this, whatever is necessary will no doubt be done,” Gul told reporters from the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.
ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria shot down a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean on Friday and Ankara warned it would respond decisively to the incident that threatened to open a new international dimension in the 16-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria said the Turkish aircraft was flying low, well inside Syrian territorial waters when it was shot down.