Turkey and NATO have raised the tone against Russia Monday, warning against the violation of Turkish airspace by Russian planes operating in Syria and demanding to stop the raids according to them civilians.
In this explosive context, jihadist Islamic State Group (EI), which control half of Syrian territory continued their ancient site of Palmyra campaign of destruction by reducing dust in his famous Arc de Triomphe.
Turkey announced that Turkish F-16s intercepted Saturday a Russian fighter, forcing him to turn back, and two Turkish fighter aircraft had been “harassed” Sunday during a patrol mission in a MiG-29 unidentified.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian fighter had entered Turkish airspace due to “bad weather” and denied any connection with the “harassment” of Turkish aircraft, saying the MiG-29 were not operated by the Russian air base in Syria.
Together emergency in Brussels, the 28 countries of the Atlantic Alliance, including Turkey, judged the Russian air raids “extremely dangerous”, denouncing “irresponsible behavior” in a joint statement.
The presence in the Syrian sky of military aircraft from different countries “creates a situation full of dangers and very difficult,” said the UN.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that his country would act in accordance with its rules of engagement if its airspace was violated.
Ankara and Moscow have diametrically opposite points of view on the war in Syria, a neighboring country of Turkey devastated by war. Ankara wants the departure of President Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow supports the Assad regime and the rebels loathe, especially EI and the jihadists of Al-Nosra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.
New Russian strikes
In Washington, the State Department said it was “reckless, dangerous and provocative” one of the Russian incursions: “It can cause accidents and risk driver safety in Turkey and elsewhere.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry, traveling in Chile, said that Russian combat aircraft could be shot in retaliation.
“We have initiated conversations with Russia to make sure that there is no possibility of accidental conflict,” he said.
The Pentagon and Russia exchanged early October on how to avoid incidents in the air over Syria, Russian raids in addition to those of an international coalition led by the United States since that bombards over a year EI.
Triggered September 30, the Russian intervention continues unabated.
The Russian military said Monday night bombing during the day ten EI targets in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs, Idleb two positions but especially in the province of Damascus.
In addition to its continued support to the Syrian regime, critics of the Russian intervention in Syria accuse Moscow that its strikes do not focus on EI and also designed the so-called moderate rebel groups backed by the United States. According to NGOs, the strikes have also claimed many civilian victims.
“The Allies call the Russian Federation to immediately stop its attacks against the Syrian opposition and civilians,” according to the NATO statement. They expressed “serious concern” in particular to strikes in Hama, Homs and Idleb, “which caused civilian casualties and were not intended” EI.
Destruction in Palmyra
On a visit to Brussels, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has discussed with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, the security zone that Ankara wants to be along its border with Syria, as well as the fly .
Denouncing Russian intervention, forty rebel factions, among the most powerful in Syria, said that the Moscow operations made it impossible political settlement of a conflict that has claimed more than 240,000 lives since March 2011.
The EI referred by Russian aircraft retaliated by demolishing with explosives Sunday at Palmyra the Arc de Triomphe which dates from the Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211).
“It was a Palmyra icon,” lamented the director general of Antiquities and Museums in Syria, Maamoun Abdelkarim. “Every time the IE is attacked or losing ground, it works well. This is not an ideological act, but an act of revenge against the international community must react. ”
“The choice is simple: either Palmyra disappears permanently either the Syrian army quickly ahead with the support of the international community and the Russian army to liberate the city,” he said.
UNESCO has “strongly condemned” this new destruction by EI archaeological treasures.