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Originally published in Arab News
NATO member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on its border with Syria on Tuesday, raising concerns over the potential for a further escalation in the Syrian conflict.
Ankara says the plane violated Turkish airspace, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted the jet was over Syria at the time of the strike.
But Alan Mendoza, executive director of the right-leaning Henry Jackson Society, said the incident signals the potential for the conflict taking on an ever more international dimension.
“Russia’s unilateral actions and aggressive posture means accidental or deliberate clashes with western and NATO forces could now occur,” Mendoza said.
“Whether Russia chooses to escalate or de-escalate with its response to today’s incident will be pivotal to the prospects of conflict extension now.”