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BEIRUT, Lebanon – North Atlantic Treaty Organization member Turkey is learning that NATO is not ready for a shooting war over the violence in Syria, where opposition factions are trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The analysis came after one of Turkey’s Phantom F-4 fighter jets was shot down last week by Syria when it apparently veered over the Syrian border. The two pilots apparently were lost.
Ankara, outraged by the event, invoking Article 4 of the NATO charter, called for an emergency meeting of NATO at Brussels for consultations on what to do next. Turkey believes it was a victim of an unprovoked attack by the Syrians.
The crisis began after the Turkish fighter was summarily shot down after what Turkish officials say was a warning Turkish controllers gave to the pilots that they had ventured into Syrian territory.
According to the Turks, the aircraft was in the process of approaching Turkey to test its air defense capabilities.
The fighter then attempted to leave Syrian airspace, only to be shot down, possibly over international waters as it headed back to Turkey. The Syrians contend it was shot down just one kilometer off the coast of the Syrian port city of Latakia. In any event, the aircraft lies in 1,300 feet of water in the Mediterranean Sea. The pilots have not been recovered.
The Syrians contend that they didn’t know at the time it was a Turkish jet, having just the day before seen a Syrian pilot in one of its own MiG-29s defect to Jordan. The Syrians say that even if it were one of their aircraft, they would have given the order to shoot it down.
Turkish search and rescue teams then were dispatched to the area. They were joined reportedly by a Syrian rescue team which observers said suggested the Syrians may not have known at the time the origin of the aircraft.
In invoking Article 4 at the NATO Brussels meeting, Turkey has not pursued – yet – implementation of Article 5 of the NATO charter, which calls for other members of the Western alliance to come to the assistance militarily of the NATO member that was attacked.
But NATO, which still is smarting from its attempt last year to oust Libyan leader Moammar al-Gadhafi, leaving behind a weak government, isn’t responding with support for retaliation.
Also, the Kremlin has warned NATO not to attack Syria over the jet incident even though the West has been looking for some basis to provide the opposition within Syria military backing against Assad.
Turkish restraint also is expected, since opposition parties within Turkey are opposed to any intervention in Syria.
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