At the time, Turkey accused Syria of violating international law. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised Turkey American help in preparing ‘an appropriate response’. Syria argued that its air defences had acted automatically after the ill-fated Turkish jet brushed with its national airspace. Within a month or so, the row all but subsided. So what is the purpose of reigniting it?
Russian Middle East analyst Professor Yevgeni Satanovsky believes that the Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya is taking a run for its money and trying to mud ideological waters in the wake of the latest General Assembly debates on Syria:
"The main thwarters of an aggression against Syria are China and Russia. Smearing China, however, might compromise the Arab oil trade with that great Asian power. For this reason, Russia is in focus. It will not waver, because the attack is futile. After exposing themselves as liars in their coverage of the Arab Spring, which they dubbed the Arab Troubles, and the anti-Gaddafi uprising in Libya, Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera and many of their Western counterparts are simply not trustworthy."
This time, Al-Arabya went as far as to allege that the two Turkish pilots survived the downing and were later executed by the Syrians with the approval of Moscow.
Russian defence analyst Igor Korotchenko dismisses this allegation as blatant lies:
"The plane crashed into the sea, and its pilots never bailed out. This gives the lie to the survival story. Al-Arabiya’s report is an attempt to demonize Bashar Assad, smear Russia and support the latest call by Qatar, made in the UN Security Council, to mount an outside military intervention in Syria."
Russia observers say they expect more and more anti-Syrian and anti-Russian slander from Al-Arabiya.