Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stated that he regrets "100 percent" the shooting down of the Turkish Air Force F-4 jet last week.
According to BBC News, Irish Examiner and the Associated Press the Syrian President has stated that he will not allow the tensions that currently exist between Turkey and Syria to deteriorate to the point of "armed conflict."
The circumstances around the downing of the Turkish Air Force RF-4E jet have been hotly disputed by both Syria and Turkey. Syria insisted the jet was in its airspace when it was downed, and Turkey claims it was flying over international waters. Assad today has only expressed regret and didn't offer any apology, continually asserting the jet was over Syria and thus violating that country's air space.
Assad claims the plane was flying in the same corridor in Syrian airspace that Israeli Air Force jets used, when they carried out an air strike against an alleged nuclear facility which was under construction.
"I say 100 percent, I wish we did not shoot it down."
-- Bashar al-Assad
Assad asserts that his country is "in a state of war" and that being the case "every unidentified plane is an enemy plane," and that they "did not have the slightest idea" about the identity of the Turkish plane "when we shot it down."
Tensions between Turkey and Syria remain high. Turkish anti-aircraft weaponry has been deployed near the border and F-16's have been dispatched to the Turkish Air Bases in the border regions, where they are scrambled each time Syrian helicopter gunships venture near that volatile border.