Number of Turkish fighter jets on Syria border breaks record
Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
Photo courtesy: The Turkish Air ForceThe number of Turkish fighter jets patrolling the country’s border with war-torn Syria has broken a record.
From two to six Turkish F-16s have been patrolling the Syrian border recently, but Turkey’s Chief of Staff announced that the number was increased to 10 on May 19.
The Chief of Staff’s statement also said that the Syrian SA-type air defence systems “locked its radar” on two Turkish F-16s for 45 seconds on May 19. The statement described the Syrian move as “harassment.”
Greek fighter jets also locked their radars for two minutes on two Turkish F-4s and one F-16 over the Aegean Sea on May 19 in a move that was immediately reciprocated in the same manner, the statement added.
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Secretary General Gürsel Tekin had claimed earlier this month that Turkey was planning to launch a military operation in Syria ahead of the June 7 general elections.
Turkish government officials strictly denied the claim last week, before Turkish jets shot down a Syrian military aircraft on May 16.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Defence Minister İsmet Yılmaz had initially announced that the downed aircraft was a Syrian helicopter, but the Turkish army then announced it was an unmanned surveillance drone, confirming earlier reports in the pro-regime media in Syria.