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Thread: Syria

  1. #441
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    Default Re: Syria

    What a great idea!

    LOL!
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria apologizes for shooting down Turkish plane - report:

    Unconfirmed reports suggest that Syrian defense forces had been shooting at two foreign planes.

    Witnesses spotted two jets flying in from Turkish territory. One of the planes went down in Syria’s territorial waters, while the other one made off,” says Ihab Sultan, a local correspondent in Syria, told RT.

    Relations between Ankara and Damascus have been marred by Turkey’s open support of the Syrian opposition, which is seeking to topple the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. On Friday, Turkey denied the Syrian government’s accusations that it is supplying rebels with arms.

    Still, Turkey remains a NATO member, which means that in the event of an attack it could summon the aid of all the alliance members. In April, Turkey already called on NATO to protect its borders as cross-border fire from Syria hit a refugee camp on Turkish territory. These statements were condemned as “provocative” by Assad’s government.

    International relations expert Mark Almond says in the event of a NATO intervention scenario, Turkey might launch a probing flight to assess Syria’s capabilities.

    If the NATO countries were really thinking of some kind of intervention to assist the rebels against Assad’s regime, the first thing they’ll want to do is to knock out Syria’s air forces and defense systems. So some kind of a probing flight testing Syria’s responses would be possible. But it is also possible this is a tragic mishap,” Almond told RT from Bilkent University in Ankara.

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  3. #443
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    Default Re: Syria

    "Oops, MY BAD!"

    /sigh
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  4. #444
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syrian air defenses shoot down Turkish fighter jet'

    By REUTERS
    06/22/2012 18:27

    Turkey loses contact with military aircraft over southeastern coast; Lebanon's Al-Manar TV reports Syria responsible.



    Photo: REUTERS/Umit Bektas Lebanon's Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar television station said on Friday that Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish military aircraft, quoting Syrian security sources.

    "Syrian security sources confirmed to a Manar correspondent in Damascus that Syrian defense forces shot down the Turkish fighter jet," a news flash on the Beirut-based station said.

    Related:


    Turkey said on Friday it had lost contact with one of its military aircraft while it was over the sea off the southeastern coast, and a television station said it had crashed in Syrian territorial waters.

    CNN Turk television said Turkey was in contact with the Syrian authorities to get permission to conduct a search for the airmen, although there was no immediate official confirmation.

    In a statement, Turkey's military said a search and rescue operation was underway. It lost radar and radio contact with the plane after it took off from Erhac Airport in the eastern province of Malatya.

    Two crew were aboard the F-4 at the time of the crash, the Turkish state news agency Anatolia said on its website, citing Malatya governor Ulvi Saran.

    The Hurriyet daily newspaper reported that the plane had gone down in international waters and that the two airmen had been found alive and well following a search operation by Turkish forces.

    The Chief of General Staff declined to comment further on the incident beyond the written statement.

    Turkish warplanes regularly patrol along and off Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast.

    Pro-Iranian Al-Mayadeen television station, which is based in Lebanon, quoted what it said were Turkish sources as saying a jet had been shot down by Syrian air defenses near the border with Turkey.

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  5. #445
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    Default Re: Syria

    Turkish warplane 'missing' near Syrian border


    The Turkish military said it lost radio contact with the F-4 while it was flying over Hatay

    Turkey's government has called an emergency security meeting amid reports that one of its fighter jets was shot down by Syrian security forces.

    The Turkish military lost contact with an F-4 Phantom over the Mediterranean Sea, south-west of Hatay province.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told a news conference there is still no confirmation of what brought the jet down, nor of the fate of its two crew.

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  6. #446
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    Default Re: Syria

    Oh boy. Emergency security meetings. That can't be good.

    This goes to show the Syrians (or Russians!) are on a hair trigger and shooting anything that moves. It means that they are getting prepared for an all-out invasion, I'm betting (and if they aren't, they're pretty stupid).
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  7. #447
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria Shoots Down NATO-Member Turkey's Military F-4 Jet

    Submitted by Tyler Durden
    06/22/2012 12:23 -0400

    Just when the geopolitical tensions in the middle east appeared to be abating, and Brent was on a gentle glideslope to whatever price will greenlight the NEW QE now that fears of an Iran war have been very much silenced, things change. Reuters reports that Syria shot down a Turkish warplane on Friday, according to Lebanon's al-Manar television reported, "risking a new crisis between Middle Eastern neighbours already at bitter odds over a 16-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad." "Syrian security sources confirmed to a Manar correspondent in Damascus that Syrian defence forces shot down the Turkish fighter jet," the Hezbollah-owned channel said."


    Here is the rub: Turkey is a NATO member, and by definition the alliance will have to come to Turkey's aid if requested. Syria, however is not just any country as has been made quite clear over the past several months of UN impotence: it is a critical staging ground for both Russia (which has a very critical regional naval base in the city of Tartus) and China, and according to the Jerusalem Post, the three countries are in preparation to conduct the "largest ever" war game. As such Syria, already gripped by fierce local fighting, where just like in Egypt and Libya the presence of US-based flipflop on the ground can be smelt from across the Atlantic, is merely a symbol. The real implication is how far can little escalations push until finally the showdown begins, with NATO on one side and Russia and China on the other?

    Turkey, which had drawn close to Syria before the uprising against Assad, became one of the Syrian leader's fiercest critics when he responded violently to pro-democracy protests inspired by popular upheavals elsewhere in the Arab world.

    Ankara has previously floated the possibility of setting up some kind of safe haven or humanitarian corridor inside Syria, which would entail military intervention, but has said it would undertake no such action without U.N. Security Council approval.

    Turkey said it had lost contact with one of its military aircraft off its south-eastern coast, and a television station said it had crashed in Syrian territorial waters.

    CNN Turk television said Turkey was in contact with the Syrian authorities to get permission to conduct a search for the airmen, although there was no immediate official confirmation.

    Turkey's military said a search and rescue operation was under way. It lost radar and radio contact with the plane after it left Erhac airport in the eastern province of Malatya.

    Two crew were aboard the F-4 jet, Turkish state news agency Anatolia said, citing Malatya governor Ulvi Saran.

    Hurriyet daily newspaper reported that the plane had gone down in international waters and that the two airmen had been found alive and well by Turkish forces.

    Be on the lookout for the official Turkish response: it may not happy. Especially if this is merely the latest variation on a very old false flag theme, or merely media manipulation seeking to inflame tensions and incite a Syrian invasion.

    And for those wondering, yes, the F-4 still exists, and more shockingly, it still flies.

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  8. #448
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria 'shoots down Turkish fighter jet'

    Syrian air defences “shot down” the Turkish jet fighter that went missing while on patrol near the border between the two countries on Friday, according to local television reports.



    Image 1 of 2
    Graphic showing the where the Turkish F-4 Phantom went down


    The F-4 Phantom, a fighter bomber with a pilot and navigator on board, disappeared over the Mediterranean. All radar and radio contact with the aircraft was lost shortly after it departed from Erhac air base in Turkey's southern province of Malatya.

    Some reports suggested that the Phantom's crew were rescued from the Mediterranean, supposedly in international waters, off the Turkish province of Hatay. CNN Turk reported that both men had been found alive.

    But Al-Mayadeen, a Lebanon-based television channel, said that Syrian air defences had shot down the plane, allegedly while it was flying over the country's territory.

    Turkey is a member of Nato, meaning that it could invoke Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty and summon the aid of all 28 countries in the alliance if it comes under attack. Turkey's government is a strident critic of President Bashar al-Assad's regime and tension has risen along the land border between the two neighbours.

    A series of shooting incidents has taken place across this frontier so far this year. The Free Syrian Army, a rebel alliance fighting to overthrow Mr Assad, has a strong presence inside Turkey. The Turkish air force, one of the strongest in the region, conducts regular patrols through the highly sensitive airspace near Syria
    .

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  9. #449
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    Default Re: Syria

    Kofi Annan says Iran should have role in Syria peace plan
    • (MCT)
    • Posted June 22, 2012 at 2:36 p.m.

    LOS ANGELES — U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan called Friday for Iran to be included in the next efforts to bring peace to Syria, countering U.S. objections to Tehran’s involvement by saying all nations with influence on the warring parties should play a role.

    Annan’s six-point peace plan for ending the 16-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad has been ignored by the Damascus government and the scattered rebel forces seeking Assad’s ouster.

    While again appealing for respect of a cease-fire proclaimed three months ago, Annan conceded that the artillery bombardments by government forces and guerrilla strikes by opposition fighters have raged unabated and that more effective intervention is needed.

    “The longer we wait, the darker Syria’s future becomes,” Annan said at a news conference in Geneva.

    Annan earlier this month proposed convening a “contact group” of nations with influence in the region, as the Syrian fighting descends into all-out civil war. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week suggested that the broader diplomatic initiative should include Iran, a close ally of Assad, but Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton immediately rejected the idea.

    “It is time for countries of influence to raise the level of pressure on the parties on the ground, and to persuade them that it is in their interest to stop the killing and start talking,” Annan said, quickly adding that cooperation is sorely lacking among those states.

    In a veiled critique of the U.S. position that Iran is too much of a factor in the region’s instability to contribute anything positive to the diplomatic overtures, Annan said he had “made it quite clear that I believe Iran should be part of the solution.”

    Annan said he hoped to convene the new diplomatic forum in Geneva on June 30 but that he hadn’t yet received assurances from all of those invited that they would take part.

    He was joined at the news conference by the head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, Norwegian Gen. Robert Mood, who last week pulled the 300-strong unarmed observer force back to its quarters and canceled patrols because the intense fighting made their work too dangerous.

    Mood said the observers were eager to resume their mission, and urged the Syrian government and rebels to allow the evacuation of more than 1,000 civilians trapped by the fighting in the city of Homs.

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  10. #450
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    Default Re: Syria

    I don't see Turkey "asking for NATO" to step in... I see this ending with an apology and Turkey backing off.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Syria downed Turkish jet – Ankara

    email story to a friend print version
    Published: 23 June, 2012, 01:20


    Breaking news

    TAGS: Politics, Syria, Turkey, Planes

    The office of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says it is “understood” that Syria shot down a Turkish military jet.

    *The office’s statement says Turkey will “decisively” take the necessary measures once all details of the incident come to light, Reuters reports. The search and rescue operation for the missing parts is still underway, the statement says.


    "As a result of information obtained from the evaluation of our concerned institutions and from within the joint search and rescue operations with Syria, it is understood that our plane was brought down by Syria," The Prime Minister's office stated.

    The statement was issued after a two-hour meeting between Erdogan, members of the cabinet and the military.

    Rescuers have already found an ejector seat and a parachute in the sea, though there were no signs of the plane itself, Turkish state television reported.

    Erdogan told reporters that he could not say whether the plane had crashed or had been shot down following initial reports of the incident. He did not confirm reports that Syria had apologized for the supposed downing of the jet.

    The jet was unlikely to be carrying out a simple reconnaissance mission, but was probably a provocative probe to test the Syrian security initiative and ability to protect its borders, believes author and academic Colin S. Cavell. Being a NATO member, Turkey can count on the alliance's support if it comes under attack, he says.

    The F-4 Phantom is utilized and supplied by the US to Turkey, and of course the United States and Turkey can claim that Syria has attacked it,” Cavell told RT. “Of course that would be the ruse they will utilize if they wanted NATO to further intervene. But I don’t think they are going to call on NATO right now.

    U.S. concerned Israel may launch attacks on Syrian WMD site


    BY: Bill Gertz - June 22, 2012 5:00 am

    U.S. intelligence agencies are closely watching Israel’s military for signs it will conduct strikes on Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, amid concerns the deadly nerve agents could fall under the control of Hezbollah or al Qaeda terrorists, U.S. officials said.

    Syria’s arsenal remains vulnerable as the result of the internal conflict currently underway in Syria between government forces and opposition rebels, one official said.

    “Everyone suspects Syria maintains an active chemical weapons program; and it would be dangerous not to plan accordingly,” the official said.

    As for concerns the weapons will be captured or transferred, the official said: “Most countries that have CW stocks view it as a strategic, not tactical, tool—and strategic tools are usually pretty well protected and aren’t given away lightly.”

    However, other U.S. officials said special operations forces are prepared to take action inside Syria in the event the regime falls and the country spirals further into chaos. The teams would seek to secure or destroy stockpiles of chemical arms to keep them from being taken over by terrorists. Hezbollah has been very active in Syria, and there are reports that al Qaeda terrorists have moved into Syria during the current crisis.

    The exact size of the Syrian chemical arsenal is not known. The Center for Strategic and International Studies reported several years ago that Syria has stockpiled 500 to 1,000 metric tons of chemical agents. The weapons are said to include long-lasting VX nerve agent and less-persistent Sarin nerve agent, as well as mustard blister agents.

    Most but not all of the weapons stockpiles are known to U.S. intelligence agencies.

    The New York Times reported Thursday that CIA operatives are working in southern Turkey to coordinate foreign assistance to Syrian rebel forces.

    Recent statements by senior Israeli military officials prompted U.S. concerns over an Israeli strike on Syria.

    Senior officials in Israel told the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that if Syria’s army gave chemical weapons to Hezbollah or other terrorists an Israeli attack would be needed.

    The newspaper reported May 31 that Israel failed to prevent Syria’s transfer of M-600 rockets to Hezbollah and the weapons can now threaten central Israel. One military source was quoted as saying that mistake would not be repeated.

    Israeli Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, commander of forces deployed on the Syrian and Lebanese front, was quoted in press reports expressing concerns about Syria being used as “a warehouse for war materiel that feeds terrorist elements in the region.”

    Golan also said there were reports that al Qaeda terrorists are working against the regime in Damascus and those terrorists eventually would target Israel, perhaps in the coming months.

    IDF Deputy Chief Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh also said June 11 that Israeli forces must be on alert because Syria’s military has “the largest chemical weapons arsenal in the region, which can reach any spot in Israel.” He expressed worries that the weapons could “fall into the hands of the rebels or the terrorists.”

    A State Department arms compliance report from 2010 stated that Syria is also believed to have an offensive biological weapons program in addition to the chemical arms.

    Calls for military intervention could increase if Syrian forces begin using the deadly chemical weapons in battling opposition forces.

    A Syrian rebel leader, Col. Riad al-Asaad of the Syrian Free Army, told Al Jazeera June 8 that Syrian military aircraft had dropped chemical bombs that poisoned people, and that government forces had distributed gas masks to troops 10 days earlier in preparation for the use of the weapons against northern areas of the country.

    State Department cables disclosed last year revealed Syria had obtained large quantities of chemical weapons precursor agents from China, Italy, and other states.

    A July 10, 2008, cable said: “While Syria proclaims its desire to cooperate with the IAEA in investigating serious evidence of a covert nuclear program and allowed an extremely restricted June 22-25 IAEA visit to investigate a covert nuclear program, Syria has never accounted for its [chemical weapons] stocks, refuses to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, and is modernizing its long-range missile systems in cooperation with Russia, North Korea, and other countries.”

    “There remain suspicions Syria could be sharing missile technology with Hezbollah,” the cable said, noting, “Just as Washington has done in past demarches regarding Syrian WMD and missile programs, Post believes a new scrub of releasable intelligence would strengthen our arguments regarding the gap between Syrian rhetoric and actions.”

    A June 20, 2006, cable reported that Iran was assisting Syria’s chemical warfare program with construction of four to five precursor chemical production facilities.

    “Iran would provide the construction design and equipment to annually produce tens to hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin, and mustard,” the cable said.

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    Default Re: Syria

    The jet was unlikely to be carrying out a simple reconnaissance mission, but was probably a provocative probe to test the Syrian security initiative and ability to protect its borders, believes author and academic Colin S. Cavell. Being a NATO member, Turkey can count on the alliance's support if it comes under attack, he says.

    The F-4 Phantom is utilized and supplied by the US to Turkey, and of course the United States and Turkey can claim that Syria has attacked it,” Cavell told RT. “Of course that would be the ruse they will utilize if they wanted NATO to further intervene. But I don’t think they are going to call on NATO right now.
    This weekend appears like it might be a wee bit lively. I think I will go up to Cripple Creek, spend a few bucks on gambling what THAT is still legal, and we're not being nuked and perhaps I might win a few thousand bucks.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Syria

    “Everyone suspects Syria maintains an active chemical weapons program; and it would be dangerous not to plan accordingly,” the official said.
    Who is "everyone"? Bullshit. EVERYONE suspects Sodamned-insane hid all his chemicals there.

    What the fuck, everyone my ass.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Russia Sending Missile Systems to Shield Syria
    June 15, 2012

    Russia’s chief arms exporter said Friday that his company was shipping advanced defensive missile systems to Syria that could be used to shoot down airplanes or sink ships if the United States or other nations try to intervene to halt the country’s spiral of violence.

    “I would like to say these mechanisms are really a good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from the air or sea,” Anatoly P. Isaykin, the general director of the company, Rosoboronexport, said Friday in an interview. “This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about this.”

    As the weapons systems are not considered cutting edge, Mr. Isaykin’s disclosures carried greater symbolic import than military significance. They contributed to a cold war chill that has been settling over relations between Washington and Moscow ahead a meeting between President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin, their first, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos next week.

    Mr. Isaykin’s remarks come just days after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised diplomatic pressure on Russia, Syria’s patron, by criticizing the Kremlin for sending attack helicopters to Damascus, and amid reports that Moscow was preparing to send an amphibious landing vessel and a small company of marines to the Syrian port of Tartus, to provide security for military installations and infrastructure, if it becomes necessary.

    George Little, a Defense Department spokesman, declined to comment on Mr. Isaykin’s remarks.

    Aleksander Golts, an independent military analyst in Moscow, said the Russians’ discussion of defensive weapons shipments “undoubtedly” serves as a warning to Western countries contemplating an intervention.

    “Russia uses these statements as a form of deterrence in Syria,” he said. “They show other countries that they are more likely to suffer losses.”

    Throughout the Syrian crisis, Russia has insisted that all its arms sales to the isolated government of President Bashar al-Assad have been defensive in nature, and that the weapons were not being used in the Syrian leader’s violent campaign to suppress the opposition.

    Mr. Isaykin underlined the point, but in a way that could also be interpreted as a warning to the West against undertaking military action of the sort that ousted Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from power in Libya. Mr. Putin viewed that action as a breach of sovereignty that he does not want repeated.

    Yet, as news reports of government massacres emerge almost daily from Syria, the prospect of the United States or NATO acting unilaterally has become a more frequently discussed option, particularly given Russia’s adamant refusal to authorize more aggressive United Nations action.

    Mr. Isaykin, a powerful figure in Russia’s military industry, openly discussed the weapons being shipped to Syria: the Pantsyr-S1, a radar-guided missile and artillery system capable of hitting warplanes at altitudes well above those typically flown during bombing sorties, and up to 12 miles away; Buk-M2 antiaircraft missiles, capable of striking airplanes at even higher altitudes, up to 82,000 feet, and at longer ranges; and land-based Bastion antiship missiles that can fire at targets 180 miles from the coast.

    Military analysts immediately questioned the effectiveness of the air defenses Russia has made available to nations in the Middle East, including Syria, none of which have offered even token resistance to Western forces.

    Ruslan Aliyev, an authority on military affairs at the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, said that statements by Mr. Isaykin and others were issued principally for political effect. Moscow has declined to supply Syria with its most lethal air defense, the S-300 long-range missile system.

    “As far as I understand, Syria is not able to defend itself from NATO, just like it failed to defend its nuclear facility from Israel’s September 2007 airstrike,” Mr. Aliyev wrote in an e-mailed response to questions. “Russian armaments are unlikely to be significantly helpful, I’m afraid.”

    Since Mrs. Clinton’s statement, both sides have sought to play down the helicopters’ significance, saying they were of marginal use militarily. A State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said Thursday that the secretary of state was referring to three helicopters that were returned recently to Syria after being refurbished in Russia.

    In the interview, Mr. Isaykin said that the contract to overhaul the helicopters was signed in 2008, was never secret and had been reported to international organizations. “It was an absolutely routine contract,” he said.

    Syria has spent about $500 million annually in recent years on Russian weaponry, Mr. Isaykin said in the interview, an order book that amounts to about 5 percent of Rosoboronexport’s business.

    For nearly a decade, Mr. Isaykin said, Rosoboronexport has had no Syrian orders for rifles, ammunition, ground-to-ground rockets, helicopters and their onboard weapons or armored vehicles — the basic tools of a conflict that is escalating into civil war.

    The Middle East, he said, is “flooded” with Soviet-style small arms, often made in knockoff versions by the Chinese or Eastern Europeans, elbowing Russia out of this market.

    The Russian arms trade business with Syria has depended in recent years on large and complex antiaircraft systems. They violate no United Nations sanctions, he said, and cannot be used against civilians in a domestic conflict.

    “We just send them to Syria,” he said. “Ask the Syrians where they put them.”

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    Default Re: Syria

    More shit they ain't got in their hands when we have to nuke their asses.
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    Default Re: Syria

    Turkey calls Nato meeting on warplane downed by Syria

    Turkey has called a meeting of Nato member states to discuss its response to the shooting down of one of its warplanes by Syrian forces on Friday. Ankara has invoked Article 4 of Nato's charter, under which consultations can be requested when an ally feels their security is threatened, officials say.

    Earlier, Turkey's foreign minister said the F-4 Phantom was in international airspace when it was shot down.

    Syria has insisted the jet was engaged while it was inside its airspace.
    It has also said no act of hostility was intended, noting that as soon as the military discovered the "unidentified" aircraft was Turkish its navy joined efforts to rescue the two crew members.

    But Turkey's Nato allies condemned Syria for the act.

    "The United States condemns this brazen and unacceptable act in the strongest possible terms," said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    "It is yet another reflection of the Syrian authorities' callous disregard for international norms, human life, and peace and security".

    UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Syrian military's actions were "outrageous" and underlined "how far beyond accepted behaviour the Syrian regime has put itself".

    Turkey's decision to call a Nato meeting to discuss the downing of one of its warplanes by Syrian air defences is a measure of the seriousness of the situation. But it also sends a signal that, for now, Ankara is looking for a concerted diplomatic response rather than taking military action of its own.

    Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty allows for countries to consult together whenever "in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened".

    Turkey might have sought such consultations at earlier stages in the Syrian crisis, prompted for example by the flood of refugees across its borders or shells fired by Syria landing on its territory.

    Nato's deliberations will raise the pressure on the Syrian regime, but it is hard to see them having any practical effect in terms of convincing President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power.

    The Turkish foreign ministry said it knew the coordinates of the jet, which was in Syrian territorial waters at a depth of 1,300m (4,265ft), but has not yet found it.

    The coast guard is still searching for the crew in the Mediterranean Sea, though hopes are fading of them being found alive.

    The government has also issued a diplomatic protest note to Syria.

    Nato spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the North Atlantic Council, the principal political decision-making body within the military alliance, would meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the incident.

    "Turkey has requested consultations under Article 4 of Nato's founding Washington Treaty," she told Reuters.

    "Under article 4, any ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened."

    Turkey wants to be sure of the strongest backing once it decides its official response, reports the BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul.

    The government has promised that it will be strong, decisive and legitimate, and that it will share all the information it has with the public.

    Earlier, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu became the first senior Turkish official to challenge Syria's account of the downing of the jet.

    After lengthy meetings with military chiefs, he told TRT state television that the unarmed jet had "momentarily" entered Syrian airspace by mistake on Friday but had left when it was shot down 15 minutes later.

    "According to our conclusions, our plane was shot down in international airspace, 13 nautical miles (24km) from Syria," he said.



    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the aircraft was unarmed, and on a routine training mission

    According to international law, a country's airspace extends 12 nautical miles (22.2km) from its coastline, corresponding with its territorial waters.

    Mr Davutoglu also insisted that the jet had not been on a "covert mission related to Syria" but had instead been carrying out a training flight to test Turkey's radar capabilities.

    He said the plane had not "shown any hostility", been clearly marked as Turkish, and that he did not agree with the Syrian military's statement that it had not known to whom it belonged.

    'Unidentified target' The Turkish military said it lost radio contact with the F-4 Phantom at 11:58 (08:58 GMT) on Friday while it was flying over Hatay province, about 90 minutes after it took off from Erhac airbase in the province of Malatya, to the north-west.

    Later, the Syrian military said an "unidentified air target" had penetrated Syrian airspace from the west at 11:40 local time (08:40 GMT), travelling at very low altitude and at high speed.

    It said that in line with the laws prevailing in such cases, Syrian air defences engaged the craft, and scored a direct hit about 1km (0.5 nautical miles) from its coastline.

    It burst into flames, and crashed into the sea at a point 10km (5 nautical miles) from the village of Om al-Tuyour, off the coast of Latakia province, well within Syrian territorial waters, the statement added.

    Relations between Nato-member Turkey and Syria, once close allies, have deteriorated sharply since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. More than 30,000 Syrian refugees have fled the violence across the border into Turkey.

    Alleged flightpath of downed Turkish F-4 Phantom

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    The F-4 "Thud".

    They call it that because that's the sound it makes when it stops running and falls down.

    I'm not surprised it was shot down....
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    Default Re: Syria

    The Damascus Option

    by John Galt
    June 25, 2012 05:00 ET





    Isaiah 17
    1The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
    2The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
    3The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.
    Quotation via BibleResources.org, from the King James Version of the Bible

    The following dissertation is not a guarantee of future events, nor is it a prediction for the eventual outcome of the crisis which is almost at the civil war phase occurring in modern day Syria. The historical aspects along with the religious implications of this analysis is not meant to be used as a final determination for current events but a possible outcome which fits conveniently within the concepts of Christian and Islamic prophecy along with historical conflicts which have been in place for centuries. The problem with the current influences of the various world powers in the desired collapse of the Bashar al-Assad regime is that indeed it could truly have Biblical implications far beyond the short term geopolitical conflagration it would create.

    I. History of the Nusayris/Alawites Pertaining to Current Events


    To give one a perspective on the background of Bashar al-Assad and the mentality of the Alawi minority ruling Syria via their monopoly of the Ba’ath party in that nation, I provide this historical perspective from an article by Daniel Pipes titled The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria, published in 1989 via danielpipes.org:
    “‘Alawi” is the term that ‘Alawis (also called ‘Alawites) usually apply to themselves ; but until 1920 they were known to the outside world as Nusayris or Ansaris. The change in name – imposed by the French upon their seizure of control in Syria – has significance. Whereas “Nusayri” emphasizes the group’s differences from Islam, “‘Alawi” suggests an adherent of ‘Ali (the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad) and accentuates the religion’s similarities to Shi’i Islam. Consequently, opponents of the Asad regime habitually use the former term, supporters of the regime use the latter.
    Why is the imposition of this new term important? During the French mandate period after World War I, the French administration imposed the term in 1920 to identify this group and remove their prior identity for political purposes and to further isolate this minority from the center of national power in the cities of Hama, Homs, and Damascus; names which are currently reported in the mainstream media on a daily basis.

    This map from the book by William L. Cleveland, Martin P. Bunton, A History of the Modern Middle East provides a clue as to why this cities are now so key to current events as well as why they are being punished incessantly by the Assad regime:



    Based on the map above, it is perfectly logical to assume that the granting of the construction of a Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria, well within the Alawite region, was no accident and a standing monument to the tactical genius of the Syrian Ba’athists. The temptation to invite the start of World War Three with an attack by either American, Turkish, or Israeli forces on a Russian naval base deep within Alawite territory is but one complication the Syrian leadership has introduced to the equation. The fractured nation of the nation of Syria however imply a greater problem as the Alawites compose but 12% of the total Syrian population.

    The political division displayed above remained in force even as the nation emerged in the post colonial period and the religious divisions illustrated in this map from GeoCurrents explains why the Alawite branch of Shia Islam should be of a primary concern to everyone as the conditions deteriorate in Syria:



    With the majority of the nation dominated by the Sunni Muslims, what allegiance does Bashar al-Assad and his followers have to the existence of the modern nation state have in relation to the future? One factor to consider is from the same article from Daniel Pipes referred to in the article above:
    ‘Alawi doctrines date from the ninth century A.D. and derive from the Twelver or Imami branch of Shi’i Islam (the sect that predominates in Iran). In about A.D. 859, one Ibn Nusayr declared himself the bab (“gateway to truth”), a key figure in Shi’i theology. On the basis of this authority, Ibn Nusayr proclaimed a host of new doctrines which, to make a long story short, make ‘Alawism into a separate religion. According to Ibn Kathir (d. 1372), where Muslims proclaim their faith with the phrase “There is no deity but God and Muhammad is His prophet,” ‘Alawis assert “There is no deity but ‘Ali, no veil but Muhammad, and no bab but Salman.” ‘Alawis reject Islam’s main tenets; by almost any standard they must be considered non-Muslims.
    If the doctrine of the Twelvers seems familiar, let me remind my readers at this time of the most infamous adherent of this ideology in modern times:



    II. The Syrian Threat to Israel


    The United States has long recognized the dangers of a Syrian regime going rogue in the region and enacted numerous political actions to prevent the spread of the Assad families influence in the region for decades. The problem facing the American administration at this time is the persistent belief that traditional globalist ideology and methodology can play a role in negotiating an acceptable settlement with the Ba’athist leadership in Damascus. As demonstrated by the brief historical background stated above, Damascus is irrelevant to the long term ideology and theology of the Alawites.

    Thus the threat shifts over to the danger of encouraging or backing the Assad regime into a corner and this concern was demonstrated in an article by Bill Gertz in the Friday June 22nd edition of The Washington Beacon:

    U.S. concerned Israel may launch attacks on Syrian WMD sites


    Mr. Gertz identifies the major concern that the Israelis have with the Syrian regime, as well as that of the United States government:
    However, other U.S. officials said special operations forces are prepared to take action inside Syria in the event the regime falls and the country spirals further into chaos. The teams would seek to secure or destroy stockpiles of chemical arms to keep them from being taken over by terrorists. Hezbollah has been very active in Syria, and there are reports that al Qaeda terrorists have moved into Syria during the current crisis.

    The exact size of the Syrian chemical arsenal is not known. The Center for Strategic and International Studies reported several years ago that Syria has stockpiled 500 to 1,000 metric tons of chemical agents. The weapons are said to include long-lasting VX nerve agent and less-persistent Sarin nerve agent, as well as mustard blister agents.

    Most but not all of the weapons stockpiles are known to U.S. intelligence agencies.
    In other words the fear of the Israeli government is justified because the U.S. does not even have sufficient controls over the rebels which much like Libya, we are funding and assisting surreptitiously via our Arab allies and the Central Intelligence Agency. Thus while the United States might have a clue as to the security and location of the massive Syrian chemical weapons arsenal, there is no guarantee that controls are in place to prevent the use of those weapons by rogue elements inside of Syria against Israel or even Turkey should conditions continue to deteriorate further within the country.

    The fear of the Israeli political and defense establishment is not unfounded as the Syrian regime of Bashar and Hafez al-Assad have been accused of training terrorists in the proper use and manufacturing of chemical agents. In the article by Charles P. Blair on March 1, 2012 in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled “Fearful of a nuclear Iran? The real WMD nightmare is Syria,” the following excerpt should put a chill down everyone’s spine:
    Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile is thought to be massive. One of only eight nations that is not a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention — an arms control agreement that outlaws the production, possession, and use of chemical weapons — Syria has a chemical arsenal that includes several hundred tons of blistering agents along with likely large stockpiles of deadly nerve agents, including VX, the most toxic of all chemical weapons. At least four large chemical weapon production facilities exist. Additionally, Syria likely stores its deadly chemical weapons at dozens of facilities throughout the fractious country. In contrast to Libya’s unusable chemical stockpile, analysts emphasize that Syrian chemical agents are weaponized and deliverable. Insurgents and terrorists with past or present connections to the military might feasibly be able to effectively disseminate chemical agents over large populations. (The Global Security Newswire recently asserted that “[t]he Assad regime is thought to possess between 100 and 200 Scud missiles carrying warheads loaded with sarin nerve agent. The government is also believed to have several hundred tons of Sarin agent and mustard gas stockpiled that could be used in air-dropped bombs and artillery shells, according to information compiled by the James Martin Center.”)
    This failure to understand the mentality of the Assad family, its Alawite history, and the antipathy towards the West, the Sunni branch of Islam, and the Jewish state along with the development of this strategic weapons stockpile could prove to be a fatal mistake in the coming weeks and months if the rebellion begins to succeed with Western assistance against the Syrian regime.

    III. The Damascus Option


    This brings the story full circle to the beginning and end, an appropriate metaphor for the danger facing the world at this time. Israel is considering an apparent series of pre-emptive strikes against the two nations represented by the belief of the Twelvers, that branch of radical Shi’ite Islam which advocates the end of the modern world to bring about the return of the Mahdi which brings about a period of destruction and horror for all non-believers and brings world peace to their sect under the protection of a just Allah, who would rule as an Islamic peacemaker.

    However, the fact that many paint Bashar al-Assad and his family as typical of the Arab cowards who folded in other “Arab Spring” nations could soon be eradicated by what I call the Damascus Option. The lack of a political power base in the majority of the nation of Syria notwithstanding, the control of the strategic forces is and always has been held closely by those family members in the military and other Alawite officers loyal to the regime. Thus the lack of massive defections or actions against Assad will not exist as occurred in other Arab Spring rebellions and the danger of massive retaliation against external forces attempting to influence the downfall of the Ba’athists could be an invitation to disaster.

    If the West continues to pressure the regime and begins to succeed in what would appear to be a successful course to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, the Alawites have an option which follows the tradition of Hussein (or Husayn another traditional spelling), the ideology of the Twelvers, and determine a course which refutes the dominance of the Islamists under the guise of Sunni Islam known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The Damascus Option as I like to title it involves the final use of the strategic weapons cache by the Syrian regime against the nation of Israel. Should the Syrian military begin deploying more weapons, especially mobile artillery, tanks, and rocket launchers closer to the Golan Heights while a battle for Damascus was in doubt, that would certainly be viewed as a dangerous and provocative sign by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF might well be goaded into a pre-emptive strike against the Syrian regime at that point in time but a failure to do so could provide the path to martyrdom that the Alawites and Twelvers revel in. The Syrian regime could launch an attack on multiple Israeli targets using their chemical inventory, possibly killing thousands in large communities like Hebron and Tel Aviv.

    Such an act would certainly invite a massive, perhaps nuclear response against Damascus and targets throughout the country. The Syrian military would become an empty shell as the leaders of the elite units like Maher Assad (Bashar’s brother) would certainly join their relatives and political allies of the Alawite persuasion to abandon Syria for a friendlier location such as Tehran as the rebellion “succeeded” in its final days. The destruction of Damascus will be played in the West as a tremendous defeat for the Syrian dictatorship but in reality it might be viewed as the ultimate act of martyrdom for the cause of Islam. The majority of civilians killed in an Israeli WMD strike on Syria would be Sunni, thus aiding those of the Twelver ideology in their quest to purify the Islamic religion of false believers. Israel will be resoundingly despised by hundreds of millions of Muslims and the “brave” warriors of Syria who took a stand against them perceived as martyrs by the Arab street.

    While I am in no manner advocating for the retention of the Assad regime, the danger of involving the United States in another foreign entanglement which can only result in a negative outcome regardless of the final result is disconcerting. The problem with a successful attack on Israel and perceived U.S. involvement with the retaliatory strike against Syria will turn the entire Islamic world against the U.S. and its interests. Saudi Arabia would be viewed by the Arab street as a weak kingdom controlled by a corrupt group of old men not wishing to engage in confrontation against Islam’s enemies. The Muslim Brotherhood would no longer have their current preeminent status as the revolutionary leaders and the shame heaped upon them by the average Muslim in the face of Shi’ite glory might well destabilize the region further. Iran would clearly become the winner of such a conflict provided of course Israel backs off eradication of their military capabilities after a Syrian conflict.

    To provide some perspective as to why this risk is real, and the dangers not be ignored by the West although I fear they will be, I quote again from an old book on Middle Eastern religion and history. The book by Mahmoud M. Ayoub, “Redemptive Suffering in Islam: A Study of the Devotional Aspects of Ashura in Twelver Shi’ism,” published in 1978 has this revealing portion on page 123 which provides insight into the mindset of the Assad regime and the leadership in Iran:
    Thereupon hosts of angels, with swords of fire in their hands, filled the entire space between heaven and earth, ready to obey Husayn’s command. But he threw the tablet towards heaven, returning it to God with the words,

    I would rather be killed and resuscitated seventy times, nay even seventy thousand times, in Thy love and obedience to Thee.
    Let there be in my death the victory of Thy religion and preservation of Thy law (Shariah).

    The idea of Husayn’s voluntary and unconditional acceptance of martyrdom for the love of God and the preservation of His religion, as evolved by Shia piety, while remaining within the Islamic framework, has pushed the idea of redemption to its extreme limit. It is an interpretation of Husayn’s death which has persisted in some form or another to the present.
    May our leaders contemplating actions against Syria and Iran pause to read the Bible and Koran before engaging in another unnecessary loss of human life. The cost this time could change the face of the world for decades if not for centuries if the course of action is improperly implemented like the Egyptian and Libyan disasters.

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    Default Re: Syria

    Weird. For some unexplainable reason, I keep expecting the conflict in Syria to wind down. The contrary seems to be true. Somebody's got their foot on the gas and the velocity's mounting.

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    I kept thinking it would die out too, as usual. Every time I turn around an escalation happens.

    This is the sort of thing we need to watch CLOSELY until it burns out...
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