– McClatchy Newspapers

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey and Syria on Saturday pulled back from a possible confrontation over Syria’s downing of a Turkish fighter jet that had strayed across their common border into Syrian air space Friday. As their respective navies searched for the two missing Turkish crew members, both sides said Friday’s clash had been accidental.

A spokesman for the Syrian foreign ministry said the military unit that shot down the Turkish F4 Phantom interceptor had not realized the aircraft was Turkish and added: “There was no enmity against Turkey.”

Earlier Saturday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the Turkish incursion into Syrian air space was not deliberate. “It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over borders,” he said. “These are not ill-intentioned things, but happen beyond control due to the jets’ speed.”

It wasn’t clear how or whether Turkey would retaliate. Gul said it was “not possible to cover over a thing like this,” and added: “whatever is necessary will be done.”