09/17/2013 03:42 EDT | Updated 11/16/2013 05:12 EST

Syria's military accuses Turkey of escalating tensions after shooting down Syrian helicopter

BEIRUT - Syria's army is accusing Turkey of seeking to escalate tensions along the two nations' already volatile border after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Syrian military helicopter there the day before.

Tuesday's statement from the military says the helicopter had entered Turkish airspace by mistake while on a mission to monitor for cross-border infiltration of rebels. It was downed as it was returning to Syria.

Syria says Turkey "hastily" shot down the helicopter, thus revealing Ankara's "real intentions" of ramping up tensions.

Damascus says the helicopter had travelled a "short distance" in Turkish airspace before turning back.

Turkey's government has said the helicopter ignored repeated warnings to leave. It crashed inside Syria after being hit by missiles fired from a Turkish fighter jet.