Turkey sends military to border with Syria
Ankara has begun a military build-up along its border with Syria following the downing of a Turkish warplane by Syrian forces on Friday.
Military convoys including anti-aircraft weaponry have been sent to the 850-kilometre border between the two countries. The biggest concentration is in Hatay province.
The military jet was shot down off the coast near Latakia. Although Ankara admits it strayed into Syrian airspace, it says it immediately changed course and headed back to international airspace and was over international waters when it was downed.
Following the incident, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called a meeting of the Nato alliance – of which Turkey is a member. He has also given orders to react to any Syrian threat approaching the border.
Addressing lawmakers from his AK party, Erdogan insisted: “Of course, Turkey will not fall into the trap of warmongers and provocateurs, don’t worry. But we are not a country that will remain silent and sit idly by in the face of an attack against our plane in international waters.”
Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi was reported by Turkish media as saying Damascus may have mistaken the aircraft for an Israeli one and wants no trouble with Ankara.
The search for the wreckage and the plane’s two-man crew continues.