Turkey scrambles jet after Syrian helicopter nears border

Turkey Syria Plane_Kand.jpg.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Turkey scrambled a fighter jet on Friday after a Syrian helicopter shelled the Syrian town of Azmarin near their common border, an official said.

"The fighter jet took off from Diyarbakir base in the southeast after (Syrian) regime forces sent a helicopter to shell Azmarin which was seized by rebel forces," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Relations between one-time allies Turkey and Syria have steadily deteriorated since a popular uprising started against President Bashar al-Assad's regime in March 2011.

On Wednesday, Turkey scrambled jets to force a Syrian plane on its way from Moscow to Damascus to land inside Turkey.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the plane's cargo included military equipment and ammunition for the Syrian regime, charges denied by Damascus.

Tensions between the neighbours reached a new high last week when mortars fired from Syria killed five Turkish nationals in a Turkish border village and Ankara began firing artillery into Syria in retaliation.

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