Syria: Thought It Was Israel
By Micah Halpern
Wednesday July 4, 2012
I've Been Thinking:
Last week I wrote that Syria was suggesting that the reason they downed a Turkish F-4 was because they believed it to be an Israeli plane.
True or not true - that is the official statement released yesterday by Syrian President Bashar Assad. Of course Assad hoped it would be and Israeli jet - it was the perfect excuse. Assad also officially apologized for the mistaken downing of the Turkish plane.
None of it makes Turkey any the happier. Turkey has scrambled F-16 fighter jets every day for the past three days. Yesterday six Turkish F-16s flew to protect the Turkish border when two Syrian helicopters approached. The helicopters turned back within a mile of the border.
Emotions are raw.
The formal announcement and apology from Assad do not smooth over the problem, but they do at least present an opportunity for dialing down the tensions and allow for Turkey and Syria to back away from the brink of conflict.
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