UK & World News
Mystery Over Turkey Jet Missing Near Syria
Turkey has lost a warplane over the Mediterranean, but its prime minister says he cannot confirm reports that Syria shot it down.
Turkey's military earlier announced it had lost contact with the F4 jet while it was over the sea off the southeastern coast, near the Syrian border.
In his first public comments on the warplane's loss, Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he could not say whether the plane had crashed or been shot down.
He said he had no word on the fate of the two airmen.
The Turkish leader took a measured tone on the incident, which could potentially spark a new crisis between the prickly neighbouring countries.
"I am not saying it (the plane) was brought down at the point it fell," Mr Erdogan told a news conference.
"It is not possible to say this without knowing the exact facts."
Earlier reports said Syria had offered an apology over the crash, but Mr Erdogan said he had no firm information on that.
The prime minister also said Turkish ships and helicopters were searching for the airmen in cooperation with Syrian vessels.
The incident comes as international envoy Kofi Annan urged the world to raise the level of pressure on the Syrian regime and opposition, and said Iran should have a role to play in the peace effort.
The former UN secretary-general warned the violence in Syria risks "spiralling out of control" if urgent action is not taken.
"I urge all parties to heed the call for a cessation of violence," he told reporters in Geneva.
"It's time for countries of influence to raise the level of pressure on the parties on the ground and to persuade them to stop the killing and start the talking."
"The longer we wait, the darker Syria's future becomes."
And the peace envoy singled out Iran, saying: "I have made it quite clear that I believe Iran should be part of the solution."
The United States has vehemently opposed the involvement of Tehran.
Mr Annan said he was working to convene a so-called "contact group" meeting on Syria in Geneva on June 30.
The increasing militarisation of both sides in the 15-month long conflict has Syria lurching toward civil war.
The failure of Mr Annan's internationally brokered peace plan has made it more difficult for outside observers, humanitarian workers and supplies to get in, or reliable information to filter out.
And the violence is continuing in Syria itself.
The Syrian government accused rebels of carrying out a "brutal massacre" of 25 of its supporters, while monitors said regime forces fired on demonstrators in second-largest city Aleppo killing nine.
Back in the UK, the head of the Syrian Olympic Committee has been refused a visa to travel to London for the Games, according to reports.
There had been suggestions for months that General Mowaffak Joumaa would be barred from entering the UK because of his connection to the Syrian military.
The application has apparently been refused because of his links to the regime of Syria's President Bashar Assad.