Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc also said for the first time that Syrian forces had opened ground fire on a CASA search and rescue plane shortly after the downing, but did not say if that plane was hit.
But they kept this news quiet all this time. Until now, that is? Why?
Turkey said Monday it would push NATO to consider Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet as an attack on the whole military alliance.The announcement came on the eve of a meeting by NATO’s governing body to discuss the incident.
Of course Turkey announced this uncorroborated news right now.
Timed to hit the news at just the right time. To coincide with the NATO meeting
Arinc said Turkey retained its right to “retaliate” against what he called a “hostile act,” but he added, “We have no intention of going at war with anyone.”
Turkey will push NATO to consider the armed attack under Article 5 in a key alliance treaty, Arinc said. Article 5 states that an attack against one NATO member shall be considered an attack against all members.
Also Syria and Turkey offer differing accounts
Syria: At a press conference in Damascus, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi called Turkey’s version of events “baseless and inaccurate.” He said the plane had been flying fast and low in an act of “aggression on Syrian sovereignty,” according to the official news agency SANA.
Turkey: Syria not only knew the plane was Turkish, but took a “deliberate” decision to target it, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal.
Syria: The anti-aircraft defenses were automatically triggered when the plane approached the Syrian coast.
He cautioned against NATO involvement in Syria ahead of a meeting Tuesday called by Turkey, saying that Syria was prepared to defend its territory.
“I want to reassure everyone that the Syrian territories, waters and airspace are sacrosanct for the Syrian army,” he said.
He also issued a warning to Turkey about its role in hosting the Free Syrian Army, whose leadership is living in a refugee camp in southern Turkey. Turkey is also reported to have been helping facilitate an effort to supply arms and funding to rebels inside the country.
“There is a crisis in Syria, but the solution cannot be through aggravating, mobilizing and arming the movement in Syria, nor through hosting entities that do not believe in a political solution but rather believe in militarizing the movement and undermining the stability of the neighboring country, Syria.”
All this news hitting the main stream media today about mass defections?
Turkey and FSA don't even corroborate one anothers stories
Turkish news outlets reported that a fresh wave of defectors from the Syrian army had recently crossed the border, including a general, two colonels, a major and at least 33 soldiers.More on the Syrian Air Defenses used:
But officers with the Free Syrian Army in southern Turkey said the defections weren’t new.
Makdessi pointed out that the Syrian anti-aircraft defense used a land-based anti-aircraft machinegun with a maximum range of 2.5 kilometers, and that the wreckage found by the Syrian authorities and delivered to the Turkish side with an official record shows holes in the tail-end of the plane which confirm that it was shot down by a ground-based machinegun, not missiles.
"Had the aircraft been over territorial waters, we would have used missiles, not a land-based anti-aircraft machinegun with a maximum range of 2.5 kilometers... all of this confirms the falsity of the allegations that the aircraft was shot down outside Syrian territorial waters," he said.
In response to Davutoglu's statement that the aircraft wasn't alerted, Makedessi said that the Syrian anti-air defenses operate automatically in such cases, and that even if the unidentified aircraft was Syrian, it would have been shot down in the same manner, adding that that machinegun that shot down the plane isn't equipped with radar; rather it had visual confirmation of it approaching it at a distance of 1 to 2 kilometers at an altitude of 100 meters and at a speed of 800 kph.
Makdessi pointed out that Syria suggested to Turkey to form a joint military technical committee to visit the site of the incident in Lattakia to inspect the reality of what happened, but the Turkish side didn't respond up to the moment, adding that rescue operations are ongoing with coordination between the two sides