Syrian regime breaks agreement with Turkey
Sunday, March 23, 2014
ANKARA - The Turkish foreign ministry has said that the Syrian regime has not adhered to the Turkey-Syria Border Commission Meetings Protocol, signed May 9, 1971, which bans aircraft from either side getting any closer than five kilometers to their shared border.
"After the two Syrian regime planes started to approach the border, our military authorities warned them. One of the planes returned after the warning, while the other one ignored the warning and violated the airspace," the statement released by the ministry said.
It continued saying that the ministry does not recommend and does not want the Turkish Armed Forces' determination being tested.
Two Syrian MIG-23 fighter aircrafts approached Turkey's airspace along the Turkish-Syrian border around 1pm on Sunday, according to a press release from the office of Turkish Chief of Staff.
"One of the planes diverted its course after four warnings; however, the other plane violated Turkey's airspace at 1:13pm by about a kilometer, and headed west and continued to fly in Turkish airspace for about one and a half kilometer," it said.
"One of the two F-16 pilots, who were on air patrol at the time, fired a missile at the Syrian aircraft at 1:14pm in accordance with the engagement rules. The plane went down near the Syrian town of Kasab, about 1,200 meters south of the border," the press release concluded.
President Abdullah Gul underlined that Turkey had demonstrated its resolution and determination to protect its borders.
"Turkey acted in accordance with international law, and retaliated against a breach of its sovereignty," Turkish parliament speaker, Cemil Cicek, said.
The pilot of the downed aircraft reportedly survived the incident, having jumped out with a parachute.
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