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Turkish jet clearly violated Syria's sovereignty – Damascus

Published time: June 25, 2012 10:57
Edited time: June 26, 2012 17:13
RF 4E Phantom II

RF 4E Phantom II

The downing of a Turkish plane by Syria was an act of self-defense against a violation of its sovereignty, the Syrian foreign ministry has said. Damascus insists it was within its right to open fire on unidentified aircraft violating its airspace.

The statement by the Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Magdissi comes a day after Ankara accused Damascus of violating international law in last Friday’s incident.

Magdissi said the Turkish claim that their military jet was shot down in international air space after leaving Syrian territory was false. The aircraft was hit by air defense artillery, not a surface-to-air missile, and this weapon’s maximum range is just 2.5 kilometers, he said in a statement aired on Syrian TV.

Commenting on the claims that no warning has been given before the downing, Magdissi said the Syrian defense forces “have been taken by surprise to see such a plane.”

“Syria air defense taken by surprise by plane at 100m altitude, even if plane was Syrian we would have shot it down,”  he said.

He added Syria did its best to mitigate the consequences of the incident by promptly contacting their Turkish counterparts and offering all due assistance in the search and rescue operations.

This was done despite the fact that relations between the two countries have deteriorated over the past 15 months, he stressed.