Syria shot at second plane, Turkey says
Published: 25th Jun 2012 19:29:50
Turkey says Syria fired on one of its planes that was taking part in a rescue operation for a warplane shot down by Syrian forces last Friday.
Turkey's deputy PM said the CASA search and rescue plane, looking for the F-4 Phantom jet, was not brought down.
He vowed Syria would "not go unpunished" but that Turkey had "no intention" of going to war.
Nato will discuss the downing of the jet on Tuesday at a meeting called by Turkey, a member state.
Speaking at a televised news conference, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc did not specify when the second incident took place and did not say whether the search and rescue plane was hit.
He said the Syrians had stopped firing following a warning from the Turkish side.
Mr Arinc said Turkey would protect itself within the framework of international law, but had "no intention of going to war with anyone".
Syria has insisted the F-4 was engaged while it was inside its airspace.
Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the location of the wreckage would prove its case.
He said on state TV: "The Syrian defence forces used an anti-aircraft gun with the longest range of 1.2km. We can confirm the damage was caused by anti-aircraft fire. We didn't use radar for this action."
But Mr Arinc said: "There is no doubt that the Syrians intentionally shot down our plane in international airspace. The facts in our possession show that our plane was hit by a heat-seeking laser-guided missile."
He added: "To target an aircraft in this fashion without any warning is a hostile act of the highest order."
The search is continuing for the jet and its crew, but hopes of the two men being found alive are fading.
Nato members have condemned Syria's actions and convened a meeting under article 4 of its constitution, which states any member can request talks if it feels its territorial integrity has been threatened.
Article 5 states an attack against any Nato country shall be considered an attack against them all, although diplomats say this is unlikely to be invoked and that the meeting will probably only issue further condemnations.
On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged Turkey to be "restrained in its response".
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also urged calm, saying: "De-escalation is crucial at this moment."
Earlier on Monday, Turkish media reported that several high-ranking Syrian military figures had defected to Turkey.
A general, two colonels, two majors and about 30 other soldiers were said to have crossed into Hatay province on Sunday night.
They were part of a group of some 200 people who crossed the border, the Anatolia news agency said.
There has been a steady trickle of defections from the Syrian armed forces over the past year, most of them to opposition forces fighting inside the country.
The BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul says this is one of the biggest single groups of soldiers to defect to Turkey but so far there is no evidence that they have had a significant impact on the Syrian military's ability to fight.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Syria shot at second plane, Turkey says [Online] (Updated 25th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1436815/Syria-shot-at-second-plane-Turkey-says [Accessed 7th Mar 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com