Turkey will retaliate without hesitation if its border with Syria is violated again, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday.
Turkey’s armed forces have repeatedly responded in kind over the past few weeks to gunfire and shelling spilling across the border from Syria and have warned of a more forceful response if the violence is not contained.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, called for reform to the U.N. Security Council to allow progress to resolve the Syria crisis which has been held up by veto powers Russia and China.
“If we must wait for one or two permanent members, then Syria’s fate is really in great danger,” Erdogan told a conference in Istanbul.
Moscow and Beijing, as two of the five permanent members of the Security Council, have so far blocked three draft resolutions backed by Western and Arab countries, accusing them of interference in Syrian affairs.
“It’s time to change the structure of international institutions, starting with the UN Security Council,” Erdogan said, calling for “wider, fairer and more effective representation.”
“By failing to implement an effective policy towards events in Syria, the Security Council is rapidly losing its legitimacy in the eyes of the oppressed elsewhere in the world,” he charged.
He said reform of the council should take into account the growing strength of countries including Turkey, Brazil, India and Indonesia, adding: “The West is no longer the only centre of the world.”
Erdogan spoke as international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle were in Istanbul for talks with Turkish leaders on the Syrian conflict.
Tensions soared between Damascus and Ankara after Turkish authorities forced a Syrian passenger plane flying from Moscow to land in Turkey and confiscated what Erdogan said was an illegal consignment of munitions.
With rebel fighters in control of large swathes of Syria’s border area, there have been a series of incidents of cross-border fire this month that have sparked retaliatory shelling by NATO member Turkey and heightened U.N. concern about the potential for escalation.
Fighters down jet near Aleppo
In Syria, fighters against regime of President Bashar al-Assad shot down a fighter jet in the northern province of Aleppo on Saturday, a monitoring group and a military defector said.
“The rebels shot down the fighter jet in the west of Aleppo province, where fierce battles are taking place,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. “The jet was bombarding the village of Khan al-Asal.”
A defected military officer in the province confirmed the reports, adding that the MiG jet was shot down some 10 kilometers (six miles) west of Aleppo, scene of fierce battles since July 20.
Amateur video shot by activists and distributed by the Observatory showed groups of people gathering around a pile of embers, and smoke rising from the scene, as men fired their weapons into the air in celebration.
It also showed the tail of a fixed-wing aircraft, blackened by fire and broken off from the body of the plane.
“God is greatest,” people shouted.
“People celebrate when planes are shot down because they are used to bombard civilian areas,” said Abdel Rahman.
Car bomb blast kills 8
Meanwhile, a car bomb blast killed eight people, including a child and two women, near the Syrian capital on Saturday in what was once a regime stronghold, a monitoring group said.
“Eight civilians, including a young girl and two women, were killed and 13 others critically injured by a car bomb blast in Al-Nabak on the road linking Damascus to Homs,” Abdel Rahman said.
“The blast targeted participants in an anti-regime demonstration.”
Amateur video posted on YouTube by activists and distributed by the Observatory showed a badly damaged white vehicle, with its side door charred and the back blasted away.
It was not clear who was behind the attack, Abdel Rahman said.
According to the Syrian Network monitoring group Assad regime’s forces have killed 124 people on Saturday across Syria but mostly in Damascus.
Another group, the Syrian Media Center reported of artillery shelling on southern Damascus neighborhoods as clashes between fighters and the regime’s army ensued.
Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Germany’s foreign minister held talks with Turkish officials over the Syrian crisis.
Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat who is the envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, arrived in Istanbul from talks in Saudi Arabia.
He is due in Tehran on Sunday for talks with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian state television channel’s website reported, a day before heading for Baghdad to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.