Turkey Warns Syria Against Retaliating for Downed Helicopter
Turkey warned Damascus on Wednesday it would "face the consequences" if it sought to avenge the downing of a Syrian military chopper this week, AFP reported.
At the same time, Turkey said it did not believe a border attack was a retaliatory strike.
A car bomb exploded at Syria's rebel-held Bab al-Hawa border crossing into Turkey on Tuesday, wounding at least 12 people, according to a monitoring group.
The attack came a day after Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter which Ankara claimed violated its airspace, but Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday's bombing did not appear to be a revenge attack.
"Our security and intelligence units have been working on this but one should not reach an early conclusion that it was a retaliation," Davutoglu told a press conference in Ankara, according to AFP.
"Such a retaliation against us within the Syrian territory cannot be considered," he said, warning, "The Syrian regime should know that it will face the consequences even if it thinks of a retaliation."
Relations have deteriorated between once close allies Damascus and Ankara since the outbreak of the deadly conflict in Syria in March 2011.
Turkey has lobbied for the ouster of President Bashar Al-Assad and provided shelter for Syrian rebels seeking to overthrow him.
In response, the 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.
Syria's army blasted Turkey for shooting down the Syrian helicopter this week, saying that Turkey had been "hasty" in its decision and accusing Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government of trying to escalate tensions along the border.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)