Syrian-Turkish Border Heating Up

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The border between Syria and Turkey continues to heat up days after the Syrian military shot down a Turkish F-4 jet fighter over the Mediterranean. The border between the two countries stretches nearly 600 miles.

Syria claims its forces thought they were shooting at an Israeli plane.

"If an Israeli plane enters Syria, it is welcomed by fire," Information Minister Omran al-Zubi said Wednesday, adding that Syrian forces "did not want to take down a Turkish plane."

The plane was shot down Friday off the coast of the Syrian port of Latakia, some 150 miles north of the Israeli-Lebanese border. The two Turkish pilots were never located.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn't buy Syria's explanation, calling the incident "deliberate" and "hostile."

"Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria and poses a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target," Erdogan told parliamentarians earlier this week. "No one should be deceived by our cool-headed stance. Our acting with common sense should not be perceived as weakness.

While Syria claims the jet violated its airspace, Erdogan says shooting down an unarmed reconnaissance jet in international airspace was a "deliberate" and "hostile" act.

Meanwhile, Turkey continues deploying additional troops, tanks, armored personnel carriers and long-range artillery guns along the border with Syria.


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