Nato is to hold a crisis meeting summoned by Turkey on Tuesday, to discuss the shooting down of its F-4 jet by Syria.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, described it as an unprovoked attack in international air space, and said that Syria will not get away with it:
“Everyone should know that this action will not go unpunished and will have consequences. But we have no other choice than to go through international law as Turkey is a law abiding state,” he said.
But Jidad Makdissi, a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman warned Ankara and its Nato allies against any retaliation, claiming that the jet was shot down as an act of self defence.
“If their meeting is for hostile reasons,” he said, “they should know that Syrian land, air and waters are sacred to the Syrian army just as Turkish land and air are sacred to the Turkish army.”
The stakes were raised once again on the eve of the meeting after Ankara said Syria had fired on a military transport plane searching for the two missing pilots, although this second plane was not brought down.