Turkish jets deter Syrian helicopters in new encounter
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Armed Forces photo
Turkish F-16s scrambled three times yesterday to counter Syrian helicopters flying close to the border, the Turkish army has announced.
The General Staff published a statement on its website, saying a "scramble" was launched from İncirlik air base in the southern province of Adana on three separate instances as Syrian helicopters approached the Turkish border.
The scramble alerts were given at 9:16 a.m., 2:52 p.m. and 5:11 p.m. A Syrian helicopter came as close as two miles from the Turkish border in the instance at 5:11 p.m.
The helicopters were identified as type MI-8 and MI-17 Russian-made assault transport helicopters. Both models could be used as transport helicopters or could be fitted with weaponry to act as a gunship.
The General Staff's statement did not mention whether the helicopters were acting as transport vehicles or gunships.
The Turkish Army altered its rules of engagement regarding Syrian military targets after the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria on June 22. Any Syrian military vessel approaching the Turkish border will be considered a "threat," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a party meeting on June 26.
"Syria has become a clear and present danger for Turkey," Erdoğan said the same day.