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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syrian president forms new government

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Damascus, June 23, IRNA -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad formed a new government with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, the defence and interior ministers remaining in their posts.

IRNA reporter in Damascus quoted the state television as reporting that a number of new ministries have also been created.

The move comes after Syria admitted shooting down a Turkish jet plane over the Mediterranean, hightening tensions between the neighbouring countries.

The Syrian military claims the plane was flying low, less than a mile from the shore and well inside the country's territorial waters when they opened fire on it.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said it was possible that the jet had accidentally violated Syria's airspace.

"It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly within and out of national borders ... when considering their speed over the sea.

"These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the high speed of jet fighters."

He added that Turkey will take "necessary" action against Syria.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told state TV the jet was a reconnaissance plane, rather than a war plane.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 1021482

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