News / Middle East

Syria Admits Shooting Down Turkish Warplane

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,May 11, 2012.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,May 11, 2012.
VOA News
Syria says it has shot down a Turkish air force jet that had flown into Syrian airspace.

Syrian officials said the low-flying warplane was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea Friday.

Turkish political and military leaders held a two-hour security meeting in Ankara to discuss the incident.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said Turkey will decide on how to respond to the incident but did not elaborate.

"We have no word on the pilots, but Turkish helicopters as well as four assault boats are searching for the pilots along with Syrian ships. We will see the outcome of this joint search operation," said Erdogan.

Syrian forces are helping the Turks search for the two missing Turkish pilots.

Turkey has joined nations such as the U.S. in saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should step down because of the uprising in his country.

Meanwhile, U.N. Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan told reporters in Geneva Friday that "countries of influence" need to persuade both sides in Syria to "stop the killing and start the talking."  He said it is time for countries to "raise the level of pressure" on both Syria's government and the opposition to end violence in the country.

Mr. Annan said Iran should be "part of the solution" for bringing peace to Syria.  Russia has pushed for Iran's involvement in resolving the conflict, while the U.S. has said Iran should not be involved.

The U.N. special envoy's comments came after Syrian activists said 26 men reported to be pro-government "shabiha" militia fighters were killed in an ambush in the northern Aleppo province.

Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told VOA on Friday that he received a video showing the bloodied bodies of the men piled on the side of a road.

"Over 26 people following the Syrian regime were killed west of Aleppo. This morning the people there said these people are from shabiha. We cannot confirm this, but we have received a video with over 26 bodies," said Abdelrahman.

In an apparent reference to the same incident, Syrian state media reported Friday that at least 25 people were killed by "armed terrorists" in the same region outside Aleppo.

The Observatory said it could not confirm whether the victims were civilians, as Syrian state media reported, or shabiha militants, who have been blamed for a series of deadly attacks on civilians in recent months.

The group also reported fresh clashes Friday between government troops and rebels in the flashpoint city of Homs, where hundreds of civilians are believed to be trapped and unable to find shelter.

The International Committee of the Red Cross aborted its attempt to evacuate civilians from Homs Thursday after encountering close gunfire.  The ICRC said it will attempt to go back to the area as soon as conditions permit.

The United Nations says up to 1.5 million Syrians are now in need of humanitarian assistance as it warns of a deteriorating situation in Syria. The figure reported by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is up from an earlier estimate of 1 million.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
June 23, 2012 12:00 PM
You know it is one thing for two countries to be at war. But it is a disgusting form of mass murder going to war with your military against your own civillians. Genocide in the purest forms. I pray Assad is captured by the families of those he killed, that would make my day.

by: Anonymous
June 23, 2012 8:46 AM
If the warplane was shot down in Syria, Turkey should say sorry to Syria.

by: Xira from: Austin
June 22, 2012 2:38 PM
Too damn bad for them.

China still says 'no'.

by: Anonymous
June 22, 2012 10:23 AM
I can see these rebels are supported by US and western countries according to this story, these people may also be civilians but the media tries to cover it

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs