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May 18, 2022

Syria general and two colonels ‘defect to Turkey’

Several high-ranking Syrian military figures have defected to Turkey, reports in Turkish media say, quoted by BBC.A general, two colonels, two majors and about 30 other soldiers are said to have crossed into Hatay province on Sunday night.They were part of a group of some 200 people who crossed the border overnight into Monday, Anatolia news agency says.Tensions between the two countries have escalated over the shooting down by Syria of a Turkish F-4 jet on Friday. The two pilots were reported missing after their plane went down in the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast.In a news conference broadcast by Syrian state TV on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said wreckage from the plane’s tailgate had been handed over to the Turkish authorities that proved it had been shot down within Syrian waters. The Turkish cabinet was due to discuss the crisis on Monday, a day before NATO ambassadors in Brussels meet to consider their response.Western leaders roundly condemned the downing of a Turkish military fighter jet by Syria ahead of a NATO meeting on Tuesday on the issue. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday said she had spoken with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu about Friday’s incident.Turkey took its case to NATO, a spokeswoman for the alliance confirmed.

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