JNN 26 June 2012 DAMASCUS – The Syrian Air Defence System has shot down a Turkish Air Force Jet violating its Airspace . Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi says that the recent downing of a Turkish military aircraft was a defensive act.
In a press conference held on Monday, Makdessi said that the aircraft was in Syrian territory. He said this was confirmed by Turkish statements admitting a violation of Syrian sovereignty.
Makdessi dismissed the claims by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who said in an interview on Sunday that the plane was over international waters, a contradiction of other Turkish statements.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman stated out that the Syrian anti-aircraft defense used a land-based anti-aircraft machinegun with a maximum range of 2.5 kilometers. Because the recovered wreckage was shown to be shot down by ground-based guns and not by missiles, it must have been in Syrian airspace.
“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,” he said.
He added that the aircraft was heading towards the beach at a speed of 700 to 800km/h, which triggered the rules of engagement employed in all sovereign countries, prompting Syrian anti-air defenses to engage it.
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.
Makdessi pointed out that Syria suggested to Turkey that the two countries form a joint military technical committee, but the Turks have not responded.
“The Turkish foreign minister in particular and the Turkish government in general have been negative over the past 15 months regarding the crisis in Syria… they seek to aggravate the situation in Syria,” he said. “The solution cannot be found through aggravating, mobilizing, and arming the movement in Syria.”
Makdessi said, “We might respond to every positive step from the Turkish side with positive steps on our side if the Turkish government still believes in good neighborly relations with Syria.”
On the Turkish government’s call for holding a NATO meeting, Makdessi said that NATO is supposed to be an organization whose aim is to maintain security and stability and if the meeting is convened with such good intentions, then Syria wishes them success.
“We heard previous statements made by NATO that they have no intention of military intervention in Syria. If the aim of the meeting is aggressive in nature, I want to reassure everyone that the Syrian territories, waters and airspace are sacrosanct.”
On the role of the European Union in the Syrian crisis, Makdessi said that the EU has played a negative role and that if it wants to help solve the crisis, it should come to Syria and inspect what is taking place on the ground, which is different than what is being depicted in the media.