Syrian Army troops have reportedly arrested four Turkish fighter jet pilots near a military airport in Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo. The Turkish pilots were arrested by the Syrian troops at the Koerc military airport while trying to sneak into the airfield with the help of a militant group, Arabic-language newspaper Al-Watan reported on Monday. The report gave no further details on the development, but said the incident attests to Turkey’s direct involvement in the Syrian conflict. Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus accusing Turkey - along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar - of backing a deadly militancy that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel.
In an interview with the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet in July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Ankara “has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists who have killed our people.”Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. MP/SZH/HJL