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Tensions rise as Turkish F-16s scrambled to Syria border
by Jason Sedgwick
Monday Jul 2nd, 2012 12:26 AM
The Turkish military spokesman said on Sunday, that Turkey's air forces had scrambled a total of six F-16 fighter jets in three separate incidents responding to Syrian military helicopters approaching the border on Saturday, but there was no violation of Turkish airspace from the Syrian side.
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The Turkish military spokesman said on Sunday, that Turkey's air forces had scrambled a total of six F-16 fighter jets in three separate incidents responding to Syrian military helicopters approaching the border on Saturday, but there was no violation of Turkish airspace from the Syrian side.

AFP news reported that Turkey has started amassing forces near its border with Syria. Reports from the area noticed concentrated motorized infantry, artillery, tanks, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles.

In the meantime, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday, that the agreement reached in for a political transition in Syria meant that "Bashar Assad's time, ultimately, is over. The unanimous agreement by the diplomats of the world power on Syria, including Russia and China, "says precisely that there will be a transitional government that will have all the powers," he told TF1. "It is said that (its members) will be subject to mutual consent. The opposition will never accept Assad. So, it implicitly means that Assad must go. Bashar al-Assad, term, it's over," the Associated Press news reported.

Fabius added that during the next meeting of the Friends of Syria Group, scheduled for Friday in Paris, additional pressure will be placed on Assad. If what we decided (Saturday in Geneva) is not enough, we will return to the U.N. Security Council and ask the application of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, Fabius said.

Following the Geneva meeting last Saturday, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs disagreed, saying the departure of Bashar al-Assad "is absolutely not part of the plan."

Sergei Lavrov also said that it would be up to the Syrian people to decide who would be in charge of the country. He did not exclude the possibility of Assad's remaining in power.

On the other hand, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a different perspective. “Assad will still have to go," Clinton said. "He will never pass the 'mutual consent test,' due to the blood on his hands,” she added, referring to the statement that the Syrian people would decide their future government.