Turkish Planes Shoot Down Syrian Helicopter
Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter on Monday, AFP reports. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc was quoted as confirming the incident.
The Syrian helicopter was detected two kilometers within Turkish airspace, Arinc said.
“It was continuously warned by our air defense but as the violation continued, it fell on Syrian soil, having been hit by missiles from our planes,” he said.
Turkish officials said they would provide the UN and NATO with details of the incident.
The incident comes just one week after Syrian warplanes headed toward the main British base in Cyprus, causing British pilots to scramble to mount a hasty response. The showdown ended without injury.
Tensions have been high between Turkey and Syria for some time. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration has been highly critical of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Turkey has provided support to factions within the rebel Free Syrian Army, and has supported military intervention in Syria.
In response, Syrian regime has threatened Turkey with the publication of a list of “targets” that could be hit if Western armies were to intervene in Assad’s battle against rebel armies. Among the targets were strategic positions in Turkey, along with sites in Israel and Cyprus.
In mid-2012 Syria shot down a Turkish plane. Syrian officials later said that the shooting was an accident, and explained that troops may have mistaken the plane for an Israeli one.