White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday that the United States “stands in solidarity with Turkey” in its altercation with Syria.
Last week, a Turkish fighter jet was shot down after it briefly wandered into Syrian airspace. Turkish officials said the plane only drifted into Syrian airspace for a few seconds before correcting course.
Carney called the attack on the Turkish plane “an unacceptable act.”
The incident further escalated tensions between the two countries that has threatened to boil over since Syrian President Bashar Assad turned his military against his citizens in an attempt to crush a popular uprising against his regime. Thousands of Syrians have spilled into Turkey seeking refuge from the violence, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on Assad to step down.
On Tuesday, Carney painted a picture of a Syrian regime on the brink of collapse, and said the incident with the Turkish plane was further evidence of a “loss of control” by Assad.
“Clearly Bashir al Assad’s regime has slowly been losing its grip on its country,” Carney said. “Our view is that the transition cannot include Assad,” he added.