Assad: I wish downed Turkish jet had been Israeli

In interview with Turkish paper, Assad apologetic over interception of plane, says incident happened in corridor oft used by IAF.

By REUTERS
July 3, 2012 11:14
2 minute read.
Turkish F-4 fighter jets

Turkish F-4 fighter jets 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Turkey)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

ISTANBUL - Syrian President Bashar Assad has told a Turkish newspaper he wished the Turkish plane that Syrian forces downed last month had been Israeli.

"The plane was using a corridor which Israeli planes have used three times before. Soldiers shot it down because we did not see it on our radar and because information was not given," the Cumhuriyet newspaper quoted Assad as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"Of course I might have been happy if this had been an Israeli plane," Assad said.

Assad said that he would not allow the tensions between Syria and Turkey to turn into open combat.

"We learned that it (the plane) belonged to Turkey after shooting it down. I say 100 percent 'if only we had not shot it down',"

Asked whether the tensions between Syria and Turkey could lead to war, Assad said: "We will not allow (the tensions) to turn into open combat between the two countries, which would harm them both."

He also said Syria had not amassed and would not amass military forces along the Turkish border, whatever action Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government takes.



The paper did not specify when the interview was held, but in it Assad refers to an international meeting held in Geneva on Saturday under the auspices of peace envoy Kofi Annan.

Turkey has heightened military activity along its southern border since Syria shot down the Turkish jet over the Mediterranean on June 22, prompting a sharp rebuke from Ankara which said it would respond "decisively."

Syria says it shot down the Turkish jet in self-defense and that it was brought down in Syrian air space. Turkey says the jet accidentally violated Syrian air space for a few minutes but was brought down in international air space.

Assad said Syria would not shy away from apologizing if it emerged that the plane was shot down in international airspace.

Click for full JPost coverage

His comments emerged as fighting raged throughout Syria to unseat Assad in what is increasingly taking on the character of an all-out civil war, fueled by sectarian hatred.

Syrian helicopters bombarded a Damascus suburb on Monday and Turkey scrambled warplanes near the border in the north, as the UN human rights chief warned that arms supplies to both the government and rebels were deepening the 16-month conflict.

Related Content

August 20, 2018
Erdogan invokes patriotism, Islam as lira remains under pressure

By REUTERS