Ankara: Turkey confirmed that it shot down a Russian warplane Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies.
“We are looking into the circumstances of the crash of the Russian jet,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said. “The Ministry of Defense would like to stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.”
Russia said the Su-24 was downed by artillery fire, but Turkey claimed that its F-16s fired on the Russian plane after it ignored several warnings. The ministry said the pilots parachuted but added that Moscow had no further contact with them.
Video footage of the incident showed a warplane on fire before crashing on a hill and two crew members apparently parachuting safely.
Meanwhile, AFP reports that of the two pilots ejected from the downed plane, one has bgeen captured by Syria rebels, acording to Turkish reports.
A Turkish military statement said the plane entered Turkish airspace over town of Yaylidag, in Hatay province. It said the plane was warned 10 times within the space of 5 minutes
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the warplane crashed in the Turkmen Mountains region in the coastal province of Latakia.
The Turkomen Mountains region has been subjected to a government offensive in recent days under the cover of Russian airstrikes.
Last month, Turkish jets shot down an unidentified drone that it said had violated Turkey’s airspace.
Following earlier accusations of Russian intrusion into Turkish airspace, the U.S. European Command on 6 November deployed six US Air Force F-15 fighters from their base in Britain to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to help the NATO-member country secure its skies.
The European Command said the deployment was “in response to the government of Turkey’s request for support in securing the sovereignty of Turkish airspace.”
A day before that, NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, had warned Moscow it was courting “extreme danger” by sending planes into Turkish air space.
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