News / Middle East

Assad Reportedly Regrets Syria Downing of Turkish Jet

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A Turkish newspaper has quoted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad saying he regrets that his forces shot down a Turkish military jet last month.

The Cumhuriyet  newspaper published comments from Mr. Assad Tuesday in which the leader insisted the jet was flying in Syrian airspace that had been used by Israeli planes three times.

Turkey says the jet entered by mistake and had flown back to international airspace before Syria shot it down on June 22.  The paper quoted Mr. Assad saying he would not hesitate to apologize for the attack if the Turkish account were true.

Some Turks say they want more than Assad's apology.

"I don't accept this, they shot the plane down deliberately. Our government must take serious precautions. They must not get away with this. With the help of God, we will retaliate,'' said Istanbul resident Atilla Bayram.

Turkey has increased its defenses along the border with Syria, a move Cumhuriyet  quoted Mr. Assad as saying his country will not match.

Also Tuesday, Human Rights Watch issued a new report accusing the Syrian government of torturing and abusing detainees at 27 facilities across the country.

The group's UK director David Mepham says they conducted more than 200 interviews with victims.

"The kinds of torture that we are talking about are really appalling types of abuse. We've had people put in stress positions, we've had people who have been electrocuted, we've had people burned with acid, we've had people subject to sexual abuse -- terrible crimes have been committed," Mepham said.

  • Black smoke from shelling is seen near Ali bin Abi Taleb mosque in Talbiseh, Homs, Syria, July 2, 2012. (AP/Ugarit News)
  • A general view of the destruction caused during clashes between Syrian rebel fighters and government forces, in Al Qusour neighborhood, Homs, Syria, July 2, 2012.
  • A damaged car is parked near buildings destroyed during clashes between Syrian rebel fighters and government forces, in Al Qusour neighborhood, Homs, Syria, July 2, 2012.
  • Rebel fighters take position at the frontline as they fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Hamidiyeh, Homs, Syria, July 1, 2012.
  • Rebel fighters pose with their weapons in Homs, Syria, July 1, 2012.
  • A rebel fighter rests next to weapons in a house in Hamidiyeh, Homs, Syria, July 1, 2012.
  • The entrance of a cathedral is seen after fighting between Syrian rebel fighters and President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Hamidiyeh, Homs, Syria, July 1, 2012.
  • A resident walks on a damaged street in Hamidiyeh, Homs, Syria, July 1, 2012.
  • A man looks at the engine of a Syrian rebel vehicle in a street after fighting between Syrian rebel fighters and President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Hamidiyeh, Homs, Syria, July 1, 2012.
  • A cat stands next to a damaged telephone booth in Hamidiyeh, Homs, Syria, July 1, 2012.

The report lists torture sites in the capital, Damascus, as well as in Homs, Idlib, Aleppo, Daraa and Latakia.

Human Rights Watch says the ill-treatment amounts to crimes against humanity.  It urged the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The head of the U.N. mission in Syria suspended operations on June 16 due to safety risks to the 300 observers there.  The U.N. said attackers targeted the observer team several times with gunfire and bombs.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement late Monday that the Syrian people and the region "cannot afford more atrocities, suffering and chaos."  He also welcomed an international plan for a transitional government in Syria and said he hoped an opposition conference in Cairo will contribute to creating a "meaningful transition."

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Comment Sorting
by: Mervin
July 04, 2012 2:50 AM
Every nation has got a right to protect its airspace,waterspace and Syria has to protect its own too this time than ever before.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 03, 2012 9:25 AM
Thought Assad was brave and sincere, why must he bring Israel into this? Thought Assad was fighting to maintain Middle East peace, why does he seem to exclude Israel now? Thought Assad was sane, why has he suddenly began to identify with the lines of the mad Arab Spring whose only agenda is the expansion of arab hatred of Israel? You shot down plane that illegally entered your airspace and the world says you're wrong, go ahead and apologize, why say you thought it was Israel's jet? Turkey will now back down; Egypt will jump into negotiation, and the Arab League will call for truce. Can someone see what the crazy idea of the Arab Spring is all about?
In Response

by: susan from: Germany
July 03, 2012 10:32 AM
Relax Godwin... relax... we know!!! the whole world knows... remember Godwin - "wheels within wheels..."

by: Sulemania from: Egypt
July 03, 2012 7:03 AM
CNN reports: "Global disgust over the Syrian regime's purported torture of citizens reached a pinnacle..." hey what about the Proven Torture chambers and rape rooms in Hamas controlled Gaza...??? hmmm??? what about mass executions of "collaborators" - and - "why is it important" you may ask... well Honey, Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood... that is what they have in store for us (Egyptians) thank you very much USA
In Response

by: hassan from: France
July 03, 2012 10:40 AM
Dear Ms Sulemania, you have no idea how right you are... but you soon will.... Hamas is the Islamic Brotherhood... if you want to predict the future of Egypt... look to Hamas... enjoy the view

by: beancube from: US
July 03, 2012 5:43 AM
Regret? Try send another jet over there and see who would regret? His loyalists will surely use the opportunity to frame him a brutal image as much as they can.

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