Turkey suspends Syria flights after crisis with Russia

Photo: Reuters


The Turkish army has suspended flights over Syria as part of an ongoing joint military campaign with the United States against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after it shot down a Russian jetfighter, sparking an unprecedented crisis between Ankara and Moscow, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

The decision was taken following the eruption of the crisis with Russia in which a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian warplane early Nov. 24 after it allegedly violated Turkish airspace, according to diplomatic sources.

Sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressed that the suspension of the Turkish jetfighters’ participation in the U.S.-led military operations against ISIL was in fact a mutual decision taken with Russia, which also halted its aerial campaigns near the Turkish border. Both parties will continue to be as careful as possible in a bid to avoid a repetition of such incidents until they re-establish dialogue channels to reduce the tension.

Turkish and Russian military officials held initial talks on the incident on Nov. 25 as the office of the Chief of General Staff invited defense and military attachés from theRussian Embassy to military headquarters to inform them about how the incident took place.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu proposed to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, a meeting on Dec. 3 or 4 in Belgrade on the sidelines of an international conference. However, the Russian side has not yet confirmed that the meeting will take place.

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