Middle East

Turkey recovers bodies of downed jet's pilots: army

ANKARA: The bodies of the two pilots of a Turkish jet that was downed by Syria on June 22 have been recovered at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean sea, the Turkish army said Wednesday.

"The bodies (of the two pilots) have been recovered in seabed and work is underway to bring them to surface," the army command said on a statement posted on its website.

The statement maintained that the two-seater F-4 Phantom was shot in international airspace by Syrian fire, but that the wreckage of the downed fighter has not yet been spotted.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said Tuesday he regretted that his country's defence forces shot down the jet, but insisted the plane was in Syrian airspace at the time of the shooting.

The incident has triggered a show of force between the neighbours, which have reportedly massed troops near their common border.

Ankara has also deployed anti-aircrafts and missile batteries to the border, after vowing a harsher response for future border violations by Syrian army.





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