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Syrian fighter jet crashes, cause unclear

A Syrian warplane has crashed in the country's eastern region. Syrian officials have said a technical malfunction caused the crash, but rebels have said they shot it down. A YouTube video claims to show the incident.

A fighter jet crash in eastern Syria on Monday unleashed two conflicting responses from President Bashar Assad's government and opposition forces as to the cause. The government told Syria's state media that a technical error caused the plane to crash.

"A military plane encountered technical problems during a routine training mission in the east. The pilot ejected and searches are now under way to find him," the official SANA news agency said.

Rebel forces reportedly contradicted the official statement, saying they had shot down the jet in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

Opposition forces uploaded a video to YouTube on Monday that purported to show a warplane under heavy gunfire. In the footage, the jet bursts into flames and continues flying followed by heavy trail of smoke.

"Allahu Akbar! (God is greatest)," cries an unidentified man. "A MiG plane has been hit in the town of Muhasen."

The date and time of the video could not be verified.

During the 17-month uprising against Assad's government, opposition forces have generally been thought too ill-equipped to attack more developed military equipment such as fighter jets. The rebels claimed on Monday that they had used 14.5 calibre anti-aircraft machine gun to down the plane.

To the north of the main conflict in Aleppo, meanwhile, Turkish officials said on Monday that some 7,000 people fled across Syria's northern border over the weekend. According to the country's Disaster and Emergency Administration, nearly 60,000 people have fled to Turkey to escape the fighting in Syria.

International organization threatens Syrian suspension

A Free Syrian Army fighter holds up his rifle in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo August 10, 2012.

The OIC is considering suspending Syria amid the conflict

Leaders from Islamic countries travelled to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Monday to discuss solutions for the crisis in Syria, as fighting in the war-torn country continued.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which represents the international interests of 57 Islamic countries, is due to convene this week. The secretary general announced on Monday that Syria would not be attending the two-day emergency summit.

The OIC is also expected to "announce the suspension of Syria's membership as recommended by member states," said OIC secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The suspension comes as a response to the 17-month uprising against President Bashar Assad's government.

Iran's foreign minister opposed the planned suspension.

"By suspending membership, this does not mean that you are moving toward resolving an issue. This means that you are erasing the issue. We want to really resolve the issue," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters in Jeddah.

German Aid Minister Dirk Niebel meets with leaders in Jordan

Niebel pledged additional funds so Jordan can help refugees

The suspension is due to be announced on Wednesday, the last day of the summit.

Germany offers more aid to Syrian refugees

Germany's development minister, Dirk Niebel, pledged more aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan on Monday. Germany is due to donate an additional 10 million euros ($12 million) in order to improve drinking water supplies.

"We want to help make sure that no conflicts arise between the native population and the refugees," Niebel told reporters during a visit to the capital city Amman.

An estimated 150,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan over the past 17 months.

To the north of the main conflict in Aleppo, meanwhile, Turkish officials said on Monday that some 7,000 people fled across Syria's northern border over the weekend. According to the country's Disaster and Emergency Administration, nearly 60,000 people have fled to Turkey to escape the fighting in Syria.

kms/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa, dapd)