Turkey's armed forces command has said it had found the bodies of both pilots of an F-4 jet shot down by Syria on the seabed and was working on retrieving them.
The military has been conducting a search operation since the jet was downed on June 22 and this week brought in a specialised ship to recover the wreckage, some 1,000 metres underwater.
Relations between Ankara and Damascus hit a new low after Syria shot down the Turkish reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean, prompting a sharp rebuke from Turkey, which said it would respond "decisively".
Syria says it downed the jet in self-defence when it was inside Syrian airspace. Turkey says the plane accidentally violated Syrian airspace for a few minutes but was later brought down in international airspace.
The military said bodies belonged to Air Force Captain Gokhan Ertan and Air Force Lieutenant Hasan Huseyin Aksoy.
It did not specify where the bodies were found, but there has been no report that the pilots ejected from the plane.
Turkey has heightened military activity along its border with Syria since the incident and scrambled F-16 fighter jets on three consecutive days in the past week after it spotted Syrian transport helicopters flying near the Turkish border.
Ankara has said the shooting down would not go "unpunished" and summoned a meeting of its NATO allies shortly after the incident, but it has not retaliated. Both Syria and Turkey have said they do not want the incident to lead to an armed conflict.
In an interview with Turkish paper Cumhuriyet published on Tuesday, Assad said he wished his forces had not shot the jet down, repeating Damascus's position they had not known the identity of the plane at the time.
Turkey dismisses this assertion, saying the plane was unarmed, was not hiding its identity and was attacked without warning.
|< Prev||Next >|
Other articles in Middle East
Clashes as Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead 21 April 2013
US approves additional $123m aid to Syria 21 April 2013
Iraqis in first elections since US withdrawal 20 April 2013
Clashes intensify in Bahrain over Grand Prix 20 April 2013
Clashes break out in central Cairo 19 April 2013
Clashes as Bahrain gears up for Grand Prix 19 April 2013
Brahimi gives grim report on Syria stalemate 19 April 2013
Concrete action call ahead of Syria meeting 19 April 2013
Dozens killed in Baghdad cafe explosion 18 April 2013
UN aid chief calls for cross-border Syria aid 18 April 2013
Live Blog: Turkey Protests
Protests at Taksim Square in Istanbul started after trees were torn up to make way for the redevelopment of Gezi Park. ( 16-Jun-2013 )
|William T. Hathaway|
|Fidaa Abu Assi|