Assad on Turkish Jet: 'I Wish We Did Not Shoot It Down'

Syrian president calls event an 'isolated incident'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2012 4:27 AM CDT
Assad on Turkish Jet: 'I Wish We Did Not Shoot It Down'
A Turkish military truck transports a mobile missile launcher to the Syrian border, near Kilis, Turkey, Thursday, June 28, 2012.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Apparently Bashar al-Assad isn't relishing his standoff with Turkey. In an interview published in a Turkish newspaper today, Assad said he "100%" regretted shooting down a Turkish jet and would "not allow" the incident "to turn into open combat," the BBC reports. He said the plane had been in Syrian airspace but "we want to think of it as a pilot's error, and we would consider this an isolated incident, which shouldn't be exaggerated."

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Israeli planes had previously entered the same airspace, he explained, and they only realized the plane was Turkish afterward. "I say 100%, I wish we did not shoot it down." Turkey scrambled jets on three occasions Sunday in response to approaching Syrian helicopters, Reuters reports. Turkish media also reported that 85 more Syrian soldiers defected across the border yesterday, including 14 senior officers. (Read more Turkey stories.)

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