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By  Air Commodore (R) Khalid Iqbal

Unprovoked shooting down of a Turkish Air Force (Tu AF) RF-4 Phantom aircraft by the Syrian air defence system on June 22 has sent shock waves across the world. Syria, already mired in multiple crises of serious magnitude has certainly added another one to its menu.

Downing of Turkish jet has triggered a chorus of international condemnation as well as appeals for restraint to prevent a military escalation. Like most of the countries, Pakistan has also expressed its deep shock and regret over uncalled for downing of an unarmed aircraft that was on a routine training mission to test Turkey's radar capabilities. “We express our solidarity with Turkey over this unprovoked tragic incident. We urge Syria to cooperate with Turkey in carrying out a joint investigation,” said a spokesman of the Foreign Office. He further said that Pakistan desires peace and stability in this important region with due respect for international law and norms; “We urge restraint in avoidance of any action that may lead to an escalation of tensions in the region.” 

Syrian point of view is that the aircraft was on a reconnaissance mission. Syria insists the jet was shot down inside Syrian airspace. The plane crashed into the eastern Mediterranean. The profile of the shot down air craft and its communication with the radar support Turkish contention that aircraft was on a radar calibration mission. Turkish Vice Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said, "To target an aircraft in this fashion without any warning is a hostile act of the highest order." He further informed that the F-4 Phantom was struck by a heat-seeking guided missile in international airspace; and that later Syrian troops also opened fire on a rescue plane searching for the pilots. “One of our CASA planes took off with a rescue team. Unfortunately, shots from the ground targeted our plane," He added.

There is a wide ranging tool box of international rules, regulations and norms to choose from, for confronting such situations. Some of the steps are: challenging the aircraft on international distress  “Guard” frequency and informing him that he is violating the airspace and advice him to turn to a safe heading to exit; ordering a visual identification check by flying own aircraft close to the intruder; firing of warning burst by interceptor aircraft, giving the option to hostile aircraft to leave the air space if he has intruded by mistake and guide him to appropriate exit point: ask him to make a landing at a suitable airport  if it is presumed beyond reasonable doubt that such intrusions was deliberate and with an intent to carry out a hostile act. Purpose of such forced landing is to carry-out a physical check of the aircraft with respect to carriage of any hostile material like cameras or weapons etc.  As per available information, all these steps were skipped by the Syrian side, and shooting down was ordered on the pattern followed when the two countries are in a state of war. Ironically, the warning to the unfortunate aircraft about its drifting flight path came from Turkish radar, and not from any Syrian facility.

In all probability, Turkish aircraft had mistakenly strayed into Syrian territory. Such straying is not unusual while flying over sea where navigational aids are scant, and there are no nearby land features to make accurate estimates; and at times, costal winds are pretty fast, which induce error in the flight path of the aircraft.  Turkish assertion that plane was not on a spying mission is quite convincing, because the aircraft was flying at low level. For a typical reconnaissance mission, aircraft has to fly at much higher altitudes. Moreover, on receipt of information from Turkish radar, the aircraft had initiated a corrective turn to get out of Syrian air space. Another factor is that sanctity of 12 Nautical miles as territorial water does not enjoy universal acceptance, and a number of countries are of the view that territorial waters extend up to 3 miles only.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called for an extraordinary meeting of NATO under article 4 of the NATO charter. The article says that member countries "will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened." The meeting was held on June 26, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, NATO discussed the shooting down and said it considers this act to be unacceptable. It condemned it in the strongest terms and expressed its strong support for Turkey. The NATO Council said the shooting down of the plane was another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life”.

Turkish Vice Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that Ankara could halt power supplies to Damascus "We have considered that for humanitarian reasons one should supply electricity to Syria so that the daily lives of the people are not affected”. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in the parliament that his country's response should not be seen as a weakness. He pointed out that Turkey was adopting a "common sense" attitude, although that "shouldn't be perceived as a weakness". Turkey says its military rules of engagement have changed after Syria shot down the plane, and if Syrian troops approached Turkey's borders, they would be seen as a military threat.

It’s a matter of great relief that Prime Minister Erdogan showed patience, stopped short of action and did not opt to retaliate physically, though Turkey country has all the capacity to do so. It is indeed reflective of a responsible pragmatism by Turkey that has saved the region from a conflict. Turkey’s prudent approach relies on active diplomacy, potent economic sanctions, and mobilization of global support. To deescalate the tension, Syrian leadership certainly owes an unconditional apology to the Turkish government and to the families of the unfortunate aircrew. Here in Pakistan our thoughts at this difficult time are with the missing Turkish aircrew, their families and their loved ones. We hope the two brotherly countries would exercise self restraint, soon overcome their weaker moments and difficulties; and in due course they would revert back to their traditional friendly relations of yesteryears. 

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UNFORTUNATE SHOOTING DOWN OF TURKISH JET, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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  1. Well if some cowards don't mind Americans or NATO planes flying over Pakistan airspace and killing hundreds of civilians – that's there choice, but they have no right to advice other countries how to behave against enemy's violation of their airspace.
    Turkey deliberately infiltrated Syrian airspace. Its action was to test Syria's defense system for possible NATO attack on Syria. Turkey is conducting a US-Israel proxy war against Syria under the cover of Erdogan being a champion of Sunni cause.
    According to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, "it was a US plan to fish out an ancient Phantom fighter jet from the 1960s Vietnam war era and have Turkey fly it into Syria. The Syrians will shoot it down, and then Turkey can appeal to its NATO allies to come to its aid against Syria. Denied the UN option, Washington can invoke its obligation under the NATO treaty, and go to war in defense of a NATO member against a demonized Syria".
    It's Russia and China wihich are blocking US plan to bring out another Libya-type regime change in Damascus in order to isolate Syria from Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas.

    • what utter rubbish! the CRUSADER whores Erdogan + Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu should SHUT UP and remember that we are far more intelligent than them
       the plane was a fighter jet INVADING AIR SPACE our Ummah of SYRIA and WE ARE WITH SYRIA
      Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu – this slimy evil insane crusader whore was in Libya calling "Jaleel my brother and praying with a mass murdering killer
       best that Turkey's crusader whores can do is SHUT UP
      I agree TOTALLY with the comment above

    • Anwar Ul Haque says:


      • Lets see the so called "syrian thugs/terrorist/crusader whores" who slaughtered and burnt women and babies are the representatives of Syrian?
        You mean like yourself a fake
        Nothing safe, nothing sacred: Syrian rebels desecrate Christian churches? (PHOTOS)

        Get short URL
        Published: 27 June, 2012, 23:03
        Edited: 28 June, 2012, 02:11
        Syrian Islamist opposition casts out Christians
        under Assad the Christians lived in harmony with Muslims
        It is disgusting revolting individual with your kind of mentality that is UNACCETABLE to the vast majority of Muslims and decent people.


  2. what is this nonsense
    "Unprovoked shooting down of a Turkish Air Force (Tu AF) RF-4 Phantom aircraft by the Syrian air defence"
    Turkey was PROVOKING + ABUSING SYRIAN AIR SPACE and has every right to down the plane
    the disgusting turk gov thinks that they can carry out a false flag for their CRUSADER MASTERS
    that scum Gul worked in occupied Arabia for banksters – the saudi crusader slaves and hope to gain from destroying another state of Ummah – watch out Turkey
    the military doesn't agree
    the opposition doesn't agree
    PKK is on fire
    Think you handle that on top of the anger of Muslims?

  3. Raja Sahib I totally agree with you that no "Censorship" but what is this nonsense
    We will not and cannot support the CRUSADER IDEOLOGY of mass murder, wholescale destruction and divide et impera
    this article is a presstitute ranting – no facts, glorifying crusader insane barbarity, disgusting and revolting
    at least be chossy in that lets have facts thruth & honest reporting – something we hold very highly
    The one thing to avoid is this kind of crass article that helps the CRUSADERS slaughter our people
    Turkey as we all know is
    TRAINING; FUNDIMG & ARMING TERRORIST/THUGS/CRIMINALS and it is our duty as Muslims -real Muslims to deny them

  4. i agree with Afriq
    what we expect and will support is/are actions like this not what pathetic pakistani morons regurgitate:
    Ambassador Robert Ford suggests exploiting a child patient to improve the image of the U.S. Army
    Mohamed Tamalt

    Former U.S. Ambassador to Algeria currently serving in Syria, advised his superiors to send a military aircraft to transport a sick child suffering from spine deformity for treatment in a U.S. hospital.
    Robert Ford informed his officials in a cable sent on the ninth of May 2008 and leaked recently by Wikileaks, that the treatment of Mounib Ferchichi (two and a half years old) will not cost the U.S. government anything as a group of Algerians living in the US managed to secure a free treatment for him in Mayo Clinic.
    The current ambassador in Damascus, who is suspected to be working for the American security services, indicated in his correspondence that the case of Mounib was addressed by Algerian newspapers which frequently promote anti-American views. He suggested that the use of a military aircraft to transport the child will put these newspapers in a position of enhancing the image of AFRICOM and the U.S. Army involved in significant violations of human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Guantanamo Bay. Children hold a special place in the Algerian society, as he added.

    AFRICOM attempted, during the period leading up to the ambassador proposal, to move its headquarters from Germany to Africa; but met with rejection from several African countries including Algeria as rumoured. The military organization operates a news website called Magharebia where several Algerian journalists write, the website is supervised by officers in the U.S. army.

    An Algerian activist, who contributed in raising funds for Mounib and who asked not to be named, said that the transfer of the patient was not in a military plane; this means that Ambassador Ford’s proposal failed.

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    ????? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? 2008 ??????? ???????? ????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ????????? ???? ??? ???? ????? ???????? ?????? ?? ?????? ???????? ?????? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????.
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    ?????? ??? ??????? ?????????? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ??????? ???? ????? ???? ??? ???????? ???????? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ????? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ??????? ????????


    + you can read the fantastic rebuttal from Mr Mohamed Tamalt. these hedious foul gang run to hide in sewars once they are exposed
    on the net it is time to make these scum understand that they will never sell their sick ideology. I totally agree with Mr Tamalt as we know the NGO+diplomatic+International org very well

  5. R. Lewis says:

    I am disappointed to see such an article on opinion-maker. This is laughable. Covert attacks on sovereign Syria are clearly documented; orchestrated and carried out by agents of the U.S., Israel, U.K., France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc. Given the violence and attacks on Syria, it is a demonstration of complete mental ineptitude to assume that the violation of Syrian airspace was an accident. This is part of the game that Hell-ary Clinton and her Luciferian cronies are playing in hopes of conquering Syria and installing a puppet regime to serve their financial interests. The majority of Syrians support Assad and their loyalty is unwavering, they are no fools.

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