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Syrian downing of Turkish plane: a hostile act? (+video)

Syria brought down a Turkish plane with two pilots aboard. Questions remain about the incident and the Turkish response. Leaders say, "Turkey cannot endure it in silence."

Syria: Downing of Turkish Plane an Accident
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Syria said Saturday that it shot down a Turkish military jet because the aircraft had violated its airspace, but Turkey threatened retaliatory action as it searched for its two missing pilots.

Both sides signaled they do not want to escalate an incident that has the potential to explode into a regional conflict, but the downing of the Turkish reconnaissance plane on Friday was a dramatic sign that the violence gripping Syria increasingly is spreading outside its borders.

Tensions already were high between Syria and NATO-member Turkey. The neighbors used to be allies before the Syrian revolt began in March 2011, but Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of the Syrian regime's brutal response to the country's uprising and is playing host to civilian and military Syrian opposition groups.

Germany and Iraq urged Turkey and Syria to remain calm and not let the unrest in Syria become a wider conflict in the area.

In a telephone interview with Turkish TV news channel A Haber on Saturday, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the downing of Turkey's F-4 plane was an "accident, not an attack."

"An unidentified object entered our air space and unfortunately as a result it was brought down. It was understood only later that it was a Turkish plane," A Haber quoted Makdissi as saying in a translation of the interview. "There was no hostile act against Turkey whatsoever. It was just an act of defense for our sovereignty."


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