News / Europe

NATO Condemns Syria for Downing Turkish Jet

NATO Condemns Syria for Downing Turkish Warplanei
|| 0:00:00
X
Meredith Buel
June 26, 2012 11:40 PM
NATO has condemned Syria for the recent downing of a Turkish military jet , and Turkey is threatening to to strike back if it detects what it considers any new Syrian aggression. Meanwhile, inside Syria, there's no end to the fighting between government and rebel forces . VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has more from Washington.

Related video report by Meredith Buel

Selah HennessyDorian Jones
NATO member states have condemned Syria for shooting down a Turkish military jet last Friday.

"We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms," said NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

He spoke Tuesday at a news conference in Brussels after a meeting of the ambassadors from NATO’s 28 member states. Rasmussen said NATO stands in solidarity with Turkey.

"It is another example of the Syrian authorities disregard for international norms, peace and security and human life," he said.

Turkish officials say the military jet was an unarmed plane on a training mission and was flying above international waters when it was shot down. Damascus says it acted in self-defense after the plane entered Syrian airspace.

The plane crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and its two pilots are still missing.

Tuesday’s meeting came under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty. That article says any country may consult fellow member-states if it considers its territorial integrity, political independence, or security to be under threat.

Rasmussen said NATO had not discussed Article 5 of the group’s founding treaty. Article 5 enables the use of force should a member come under attack.

Hopes for restraint

An international security expert at Britain’s University of Nottingham, Wyn Rees, said NATO is keen to demonstrate its support for Turkey.

"It's a very important state within the alliance. So the fact that it has now suffered this loss of an aircraft, it's important for the other NATO members to show solidarity " he said.

Rees said NATO also hopes to restrain Turkey from escalating the situation.

"The NATO members are not looking for a pretext on which to intervene and therefore they do not want one of their members to drag them into such an action."

Rees says he thinks this situation will be dealt with diplomatically. But he says by shooting down Turkey’s plane, Syria has raised new questions about its internal situation.

"For a country to kind of engage in such an act -- such a hostile act -- seems rather stupid frankly. And one wonders just how much control the Assad regime has over parts of the military now. It kind of raises that deeper question, is the military fully under the command of the civilian government?"

Warning from Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a stinging attack on Syria's rulers Tuesday, warning them of the "wrath of Turkey." Speaking in parliament, he declared Syria to be "a clear and present danger."  The prime minister also announced new rules of engagement for the Turkish army.

"Any military element from Syria moving too close to the Turkish border that is deemed a security risk will be seen as a threat and will be a military target," Erdogan said. "I am warning Syria it shouldn't make any mistake and test Turkey."

Analysts warn of the potential for confrontation as Syrian forces increasingly move closer to the Turkish border to curtail the smuggling of arms to the Free Syrian Army rebels.

Until now, the Turkish army has been under strict rules to avoid confrontation with Syrian forces.

During his address, the prime minister emphasized he is not looking for war.

"Turkey knows what it will do very well. We won't fall into the trap of war provocateurs," Erdogan said. "But we are not a country to sit by after the downing of our plane. We will keep our determination."

The Turkish leader said Turkey will give full support until the Syrian people "are relieved of this dictator," referring to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Danger for monitors

The U.N. Security Council received a closed briefing Tuesday from U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous. Diplomats say he told the council that the situation in Syria is too dangerous for U.N. monitors to resume their work there.

They say he added that the Syrian government also refuses to allow observers to use satellite telephones, which he called "key tools" to the operation.

The head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, suspended operations on June 16 due to safety risks to the 300 observers. The U.N. has said attackers have targeted the observer team several times in recent weeks with gunfire and bombs.

Violence near Damascus

Rights activists reported heavy fighting in Syria between rebels and government forces in several areas Tuesday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army used artillery during clashes with rebels in Damascus suburbs that house families of army officers.

The Observatory also reported violence in the cities of Daraa, Homs, Aleppo, and Deir Ezzor, as well as in Hama and Idlib provinces.

The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdelrahman, said the Tuesday clashes and shelling killed 38 people, including 21 government troops, two defectors and 15 civilians and rebels.

Hennessy reported from London. Jones reported from Istanbul. Carla Babb in Washington contributed to this report.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Anonymous
June 26, 2012 2:47 PM
Who should be condenmed?

NATO is full of shit.

In Response

by: Anonymous
June 26, 2012 3:24 PM
If there weren't organizations like NATO, you would probably get killed for saying things like that by Totalitarian style governments...

     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid