Turkish authorities have located the bodies of the two Turkish pilots whose jet was shot down by Syria on June 22.
The bodies were found by a U.S. underwater vessel on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Now, the remains of Air Force Capt. Gokhan Ertan and Lt. Hasan Huseyin Aksoy are being recovered from a Mediterranean seabed by the Turkish military.
Meanwhile, Turkey and Syria remain in a tense diplomatic standoff over the incident.
The two countries, formerly economic partners on good terms, have drifted apart over the last several months during Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on rebels who seek to overthrow his regime. At least 16,000 have died over the past 17 months of turmoil.
Tensions came to a head when Syria shot down Turkey's Phantom F-4 jet after it had veered momentarily into Syrian airspace. Turkish officials say the plane had left Syrian territory and was over international waters when it was illegally shot down. Syrian officials maintained that the jet was in their airspace, and some have attributed the incident to a possible misidentification of the jet.
Overall, Syria's tone has been apologetic. It is eager to avoid Turkish hostility, which could increase the threat of NATO intervention.
But the incident marked a turning point for Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ramped up rhetoric against the Assad regime, calling on NATO to set up a more specific protocol for dealing with potential Syrian aggression. Turkey has also mobilized tanks and troops along its Syrian border.
The Syrian regime has no more legitimacy, that is clear, said Erdogan ahead of a June 26 NATO meeting. Women, children, the elderly, have been killed relentlessly by this tyranny.
In an interview with Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, published on Tuesday, Assad said he regretted the attack on the jet. But during that same interview, in a new section that was released on Wednesday, he also called Erdogan two-faced and accused Turkey of meddling.
Turkey has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists who have killed our people, he said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Despite strong language on both sides, neither has yet voiced a willingness to engage in armed conflict.
The Turkish pilots whose bodies were found on Wednesday were both survived by their fathers, and both of those men have urged the Turkish government not to resort to military intervention to avenge their sons' deaths.