TENSIONS RISE BETWEEN ANKARA AND DAMASCUS: Turkish military downed a Syrian M-17 military helicopter in the Turkmen Mountain region in the greater Latakia area Monday afternoon after Turkey said the Syrian aircraft had entered the Turkish skies.
“The helicopter violated Turkey’s air space two kilometers inside our territory,” said Bülent Arınç, the Turkish deputy prime minister. “It was repeatedly warned by our air defense unit and after it continued to violate our air space, it was shot down.”
The helicopter ended up in Syrian territory, and was the second Syrian regime aircraft to be downed Monday after rebels shot down a helicopter in Idlib province.
Turkey, which had initially had a cordial relationship with Syria before the uprising began in early 2011 has made no secret of its contempt for the Syrian regime and its support for the opposition. For the past two years, the border area has seen wide-spread smuggling to the rebels and violence has crossed the border into Turkey. Video Courtesy of Fifth Channel