- Turkey is reportedly laying the ground for NATO's intervention in Syria by taking advantage of the issue of a Turkish warplane that was recently shot down by the Syrian air defense forces.
According to a recent analytical report published by the Voice of Russia, the issue of a Turkish F-4 Phantom shot down on June 22 has been used by Ankara as a pretext to persuade military intervention in Syria.
Syria said its air defense forces shot down the Turkish aircraft in the Syrian airspace "according to the laws that govern such situations." The warplane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told TRT television on June 24, "According to our conclusions, our plane was shot down in international airspace, 13 nautical miles from Syria."
"The plane did not show any sign of hostility toward Syria and was shot down about 15 minutes after having momentarily violated Syrian airspace," Davutoglu said.
However, the analytical report argued that the "15 minutes" time was enough for taking reconnaissance images of the Syrian air defense bases and that the Syrian radar systems detected the Turkish warplane violating the Syrian airspace.
The report also said the West is preparing for an operation inside Syria similar to the one carried out in Libya. However, the anti-Damascus Western governments will not wait for a UN Security Council resolution regarding the military intervention in Syria.
On June 26, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would retaliate "with determination" and take the "necessary steps by determining the time, place and method by itself."
"The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed given this new development," Erdogan told the Turkish parliament.
He made the remarks a day after Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said in a press conference in Damascus that the Turkish warplane "violated Syrian airspace, and in turn Syrian air defenses fired back and the plane crashed inside Syrian territorial waters."
Also on June 26, the Turkish Hurriyetdaily reported that Ankara had deployed a "large number of military vehicles to the Syrian border," including "15 armored tanks, in addition to long-distance guns and other military vehicles."