Home  > Israel-News Today
Syria Shoots Down Turkish Warplane, Fraying Ties Further (NY) TIMES) By DALAL MAWAD and RICK GLADSTONE BEIRUT, Lebanon 06/22/12) Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/world/middleeast/mass-killing-reported-in-syria-apparently-a-rebel-ambush.html?_r=1&ref=world&gwh=19965CC5A8CB5E6FEC9854F602F67B00
The Headline Contains

* Choose from 1 of the 4 descriptions for the headline and or any paragraph.


BEIRUT, Lebanon — Turkey announced Friday that Syrian forces had shot down a Turkish warplane with two crew members over the Mediterranean, a potentially ominous turn for the worse in relations already frayed because of Turkey’s support for Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Paragraph-1 Contains
The Syrians later acknowledged their antiaircraft gunners had downed the plane, contending it had violated Syrian airspace.
Paragraph-2 Contains
Turkey’s announcement, from the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came after an emergency security meeting by Turkish officials in Ankara over the fate of the plane, which had been reported missing hours earlier amid conflicting reports over whether it had crashed or had been downed intentionally.
Paragraph-3 Contains
The measured wording of the announcement suggested that Turkey had not yet concluded that the Syrian action was provocative, and it acknowledged that Syrian rescue teams were cooperating in trying to locate the aircraft and crew. But the statement also left open the possibility that Turkey, a NATO member, would respond militarily, an outcome that could further complicate and widen the Syrian conflict.
Paragraph-4 Contains
“As the result of the data provided by our related institutions and the research jointly conducted with Syria, it was understood that our plane has been downed by Syria,” said the statement from Mr. Erdogan’s office. “Turkey, after the incident is fully enlightened, will lay forward its attitude and take necessary steps.”
Paragraph-5 Contains
It was the first time since Syrian-Turkish relations began to deteriorate last year that the Syrian military had shot down a Turkish military aircraft.
Paragraph-6 Contains
The plane, identified by Turkish and Western news agencies as an American-made F-4 Phantom, went down near the southern coast of Hatay Province in Turkey, which borders Latakia Province in Syria.
Paragraph-7 Contains
The Syrian Defense Ministry said later in a statement carried by the official Syrian Arab News Agency that its antiaircraft gunners had hit an unidentified aircraft flying at “very low altitude and at high speed” over Syria’s territorial waters less than a mile offshore, causing it to crash into the sea near the village of Om al-Tuyour. The statement said it was later found that the aircraft was a “Turkish military plane that entered Syrian airspace and was dealt with according to laws observed in such cases.”
Paragraph-8 Contains
Mr. Erdogan is one of the most strident critics of Syria’s sharp repression of its antigovernment uprising, now in its 16th month. Turkey has allowed more than 32,000 Syrian refugees to seek sanctuary and has permitted Syria’s opposition forces and dissidents in exile to organize and funnel supplies from Turkey over the 550-mile border with Syria.
Paragraph-9 Contains
Turkey is also a leading member of the “Friends of Syria” group of countries, including the United States, that has been pushing for the ouster of Mr. Assad. Last month, Turkey joined the United States and European countries in expelling Syrian diplomats in response to evidence that Mr. Assad’s forces had massacred civilians in western Syria.
Paragraph-10 Contains
The new rupture in Turkish-Syrian relations came as reports of a possible new mass killing emerged Friday in Syria’s northern Aleppo Province.
Paragraph-11 Contains
Opposition activists said those killings, in the village of Daret Azzeh, were the outcome of a military skirmish in which soldiers of the Free Syrian Army, the main armed rebel force, carried out a surprise attack on a group that included suspected members of the shabiha, the feared pro-government militia accused by the opposition of complicity in numerous killings, detentions and torture. At least 25 men were shot to death.
Paragraph-12 Contains
“The armed opposition in the area ambushed a number of cars,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an antigovernment group based in Britain with networks of contacts inside Syria.
Paragraph-13 Contains
A video that the Observatory posted online from activists, said to have been recorded in Daret Azzeh, showed carnage, with bloodied corpses piled around a white pickup truck riddled with bullet holes. Many corpses were clothed in military fatigues or black clothes, a trademark of the shabiha.
Paragraph-14 Contains
The official Syrian Arab News Agency’s account of the Daret Azzeh killings attributed them to armed terrorist gangs, the standard government description for all opposition forces, and said the killers had kidnapped and tortured the victims.
Paragraph-15 Contains
At least 56 people were killed elsewhere in clashes and protests around Syria, opposition accounts said.
Paragraph-16 Contains
The mayhem in Syria has escalated since Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the Norwegian commander of the 300 United Nations monitors in Syria, suspended their work last Saturday because of relentless violations of a two-month-old cease-fire and a peace plan that has all but collapsed.
Paragraph-17 Contains
Kofi Annan, the special envoy of the United Nations and Arab League who negotiated that plan, issued a new plea on Friday for intensified international pressure on the antagonists in the conflict.
Paragraph-18 Contains
“It’s time for countries of influence to raise the level of pressure on the parties on the ground and to persuade them to stop the killing and start the talking,” he said in Geneva.
Paragraph-19 Contains
Mr. Annan has been working to convene a meeting next Saturday in Geneva of Syria’s neighbors and major powers who can influence the Syrian government and opposition. He said he wants the meeting to include Iran, Mr. Assad’s only ally in the region, despite objections by the United States and Britain. Russia, Mr. Assad’s most important backer, wants Iran to participate in such a meeting.
Paragraph-20 Contains
The Russians also have grown increasingly irritated with American accusations that the Kremlin is arming the Syrian military with weapons aimed at crushing Mr. Assad’s opponents.
Paragraph-21 Contains
Russia’s Interfax news service reported Friday that Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia said that relations with the Americans are complicated by “the American mentality, the thought one has instilled since one’s childhood — we are No. 1 in the world and we are infallible.”
Paragraph-22 Contains
Dalal Mawad reported from Beirut, and Rick Gladstone from New York. Reporting was contributed by Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul, Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Nick Cumming-Bruce from Geneva, and Ellen Barry from Moscow. (Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company 06/22/12)
Paragraph-23 Contains
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY


NEW YORK TIMES Articles-Index-Top Publishers-Index-Top Return to Top