NATO will meet Tuesday to discuss the Syrian shoot-down of the fighter plane. Turkey has claimed the F-4 was shot down in international airspace.
Syria insisted on Saturday that the plane was shot down after it violated its airspace.
“An unidentified aerial target violated Syrian airspace, coming from the west at a very low altitude and at high speed over territorial waters, so the Syrian anti-air defenses counteracted with anti-aircraft artillery, hitting it directly as it was 1 kilometer away from land,” the state Syrian Arab News Agency reported a military spokesman as saying.Turkey’s Foreign Minster Ahmet Davutoglu told State TV Sunday that the F-4 was on a training mission and had accidentally crossed into Syrian territory, but said the plane was not on a spying mission. The plane quickly left Syrian air space when warned by a Turkish controller.
Davutoglu said the plane was then shot down after it had left Syrian airspace.
Turkey called the NATO governing board meeting over Article 4 of the NATO charter which calls for member countries “to consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.”
Syrian state television said the country was coordinating search and rescue efforts for the two missing pilots, but tensions rose Monday when Syrian forces allegedly fired on a Turkish search and rescue plane.
The European Union issued a fresh round of sanctions against Syria.
“The EU condemns the unacceptable shooting down by Syria of a Turkish military plane on 22 June. It offers its sympathies to the families of the airmen involved and commends Turkey’s measured and responsible initial reaction,” the EU said in a statement.