The head of the NATO military alliance has described the downing of a Turkish fighter jet by Syrian government forces unacceptable.
The condemnation came shortly after Turkey briefed NATO’s North Atlantic Council in discussions on Tuesday held under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which allows a NATO member to request consultations if its security has been threatened.
“We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms,” said NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
For his part, Turkey’s prime minister, responding to the incident in a speech to the ruling AK party’s parliamentary group, said the Turkish military will respond to any future violation of its border by the Syrian military.
“The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target.”
Meanwhile, Turkey has deployed a large number of tanks and other armored vehicles to the Syrian border.
The move comes hours after Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to retaliate against Damascus over the downing of its fighter jet.