News / Europe

    NATO Condemns Syria for Downing Turkish Jet

    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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora