Monday 18 December 2017

A tense moment – but Nato won’t let situation escalate

The Russian jet explodes in a fireball after being shot down over Syria
The Russian jet explodes in a fireball after being shot down over Syria

Shashank Joshi

The apparent downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey - which Ankara claims was violating its airspace, despite 10 warnings - is an exceptionally dangerous moment in Syria's civil war.

But, in the context of warming diplomatic relations with Moscow and the extraordinary risks of escalation, Turkey's Western allies are likelier to proceed with extreme caution.

A crisis like this was almost inevitable. Turkey had complained of repeated airspace violations by Russian aircraft in early October, prompting Nato to issue a protest. Later that month, Turkey did indeed shoot down what seemed to have been a Russian fighter aircraft - but turned out to have been a probable Russian drone.

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