Iran calls on Turkey, Syria to ease tensions

Iran calls on Turkey, Syria to ease tensions
Mon Mar 24, 2014 08:33:24

Iran has called on Ankara and Damascus to ease their tensions after Turkish forces shot down a Syrian warplane near the border.

Turkey's army shot down a Syrian plane, claiming that it crossed Turkish airspace, at a volatile border region where Syrian army has been engaged in heavy clashes with extremist militant groups.

The incident was followed by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatening to adopt more military measures against Syria.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday that a military approach would only escalate tensions in the region.

Amir-Abdollahian stressed that Ankara and Tehran are determined to continue their fight against terrorism and support any political solution to the Syrian conflict.

On Sunday, Ankara said the Syrian warplane was downed after crossing the border into Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated the army for targeting the plane and warned of a heavy response if Syria violates Turkey’s airspace again.

However, Syrian officials on Sunday rejected Turkey’s claim about the violation of its airspace and said the plane was inside the Syrian airspace when it was downed.

A Syrian army spokesman described the act as “a flagrant aggression,” saying the warplane was targeting foreign-backed militants in the coastal province of Latakia, close to the border with Turkey.

Syrian army soldiers have been engaged in heavy clashes over the past days with foreign-backed militants around Kassab, a border crossing with Turkey close to the Mediterranean.

Reports say over 140,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the foreign-backed militancy that has gripped Syria since March 2011.


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