June 23 - Calm returns to the Turkey-Syria border as searches continue for pilots missing after Syria downed a Turkish jet it claimed was flying low in its airspace. Sunita Rappai reports.
A Turkish rescue boat searches for two airmen - missing after Syria downed a Turkish jet on Friday. Syrian State TV aired a military statement on Saturday saying the unidentified plane had been shot down after it entered Syrian airspace, flying low inside territorial waters . The statement added that Syria had acted within its legal powers and in accordance with international law. Despite fears of escalating tensions over the incident, there was calm over the Syrian-Turkish border on Saturday, with Syria reportedly joining forces with Turkey to search for the airmen. Initial comments from Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan were measured, saying on Friday that he was awaiting further information to properly evaluate the incident. Ankara has said the plane - an F-4 phantom - was not a warplane but a reconnaissance aircraft. Relations have deteriorated between the two former allies since the beginning of the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad which has seen scores of refugees flee to Turkey. The country hosts around 32,000 Syrian refugees and allows the rebel Free Syrian Army to operate from its territory. Sunita Rappai, Reuters