Syrian President Bashar al-Assad expressed regret on Tuesday for the Syrian army's shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet, Turkish local media reported.
If the jet were in international air space, Syria would not have hesitated to apologise, Assad said in an interview with Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
``The Turkish plane was flying in an air corridor where Israeli planes used to fly before," Assad explained when asked why Syria shot down an unarmed plane.
"Our radars couldn't identify it (as a Turkish plane), and we weren't informed about it, so our soldiers downed it.
"After the Chief of the General Staff changed in Turkey, we don't even have a phone number of a Turkish General who we can turn to in case of emergency," said Assad.
After the F-4 reconnaissance plane was downed on June 22, the Turkish army said every military element approaching its border from Syria would be considered as a threat.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who used to be a close ally of Assad, has repeatedly called for ouster of the Syrian leader since a crisis broke out in the country in March 2011.
"Syria has become a clear danger to Turkey,’’ he said. (Xinhua/NAN)