Turkey scrambles jets on Syria border

Turkey has scrambled six F-16 fighters jets near its border with Syria after Syrian helicopters came close to the border, the country’s army says.

A total of six jets were sent to the area in response to three such incidents on Sunday, although there was no border violation, the Reuters news agency quoted the statement saying.

Last month, Syrian forces shot down a Turkish jet in the border area.

The incident further strained already tense relations between former allies.

On Friday, Turkey said it had begun deploying rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along the border in response to the downing of its F-4 Phantom jet.

Turkey has strongly criticised Syria’s response to the 16-month anti-government uprising, which has seen more than 30,000 Syrian refugees enter Turkey.

Four of the six jets were scrambled from the air base of Incirlik in response to Syrian helicopters flying close to the Turkish province of Hatay, Reuters quoted Sunday’s army statement as saying.

Two more F-16s took off from a base in Batman after Syrian helicopters were spotted close to the province of Mardin, it added.

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