Turkey denies Israel used airspace for Syria strike

Turkey denies Israel used airspace for Syria strike
Tue Jul 16, 2013 09:27:06

Turkey has denied reports that it had allowed its airspace to be used by Israel to launch recent airstrikes on the Syrian port city of Latakia.

“We would never collaborate with Israel on Syria,” a spokesperson from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told The Daily Star newspaper on Monday.

“These reports are completely baseless,” he added, saying that, “[The reports] were quite strange, as when you look at the map there would be no need to go to Turkey.”

The reports, initially carried by Russia Today, were, he said, “an attempt to discredit Turkish policies in Syria and the wider Middle East.”

Earlier in the day, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotuglu denied the reports to local media in Turkey.

Turkish-Israeli ties were severely damaged when nine Turkish activists were killed after Israeli soldiers stormed their peace flotilla to Gaza in May 2010. This May, intervention by US President Barack Obama led to a partial thawing of relations, and Israel, for the first time, apologized for the raid.

Israel has yet to confirm or deny reports which emerged over the weekend that the Jewish state was behind the July 5 explosions in Latakia, which allegedly targeted advanced anti-cruise Yakhont missiles, sold to Syria by Russia.

Speaking Sunday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would only say that, “My policy is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

This would be the fourth such Israeli attack against Syria this year, The New York Times reported at the weekend, and Israeli involvement came to light after the Syrian opposition denied their involvement in the Latakia explosions, the report added.
Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.

Several international human rights organizations have accused militants operating in Syria of committing war crimes.


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