الثلاثاء , سبتمبر 5 2017
الرئيسية / English Section / Turks ‘down Russian warplane in Syria’

Turks ‘down Russian warplane in Syria’

Media captionThe video shows a plane descending rapidly in the sky before disappearing behind trees

The Turkish military have reportedly shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria.

Russia’s defence ministry said an Su-24 had crashed on Syrian territory after being hit by fire from the ground, and that its pilots had managed to eject.

But Turkish military officials said Turkish F-16s had shot down the plane after repeatedly warning its pilots they were violating Turkish airspace.

Video footage showed the plane crashing into mountains in Latakia province.

Follow the latest updates here

Russia launched an air campaign to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government in late September.

Pilot ‘captured’

The Russian defence ministry confirmed on Tuesday morning that a Russian Su-24 had “crashed on Syrian territory, having been hit from the ground” while it was flying at an altitude of 6,000m (19,685ft).

“Efforts are being made to ascertain what happened to the pilots. According to preliminary reports, the pilots have managed to self-eject,” the ministry was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.


A feared incident – Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence correspondent

This is exactly the kind of incident that many have feared since Russia launched its air operations in Syria. The dangers of operating near to the Turkish border have been all too apparent. Turkish planes have already shot down at least one Syrian air force jet and possibly a helicopter as well.

Russia insists that its warplane did not violate Turkish air space. So, was the Russian pilot’s navigation wrong? Questions will also be asked about the readiness of the Turks to open fire.

It suggests that the much discussed arrangements to avoid incidents between warplanes over Syria are inadequate. The Turkish authorities will no doubt claim that such arrangements do not cover the approaches to their own airspace where tried and tested procedures should apply.

There are conflicting reports as to whether it was ground fire or Turkish jets that brought down the Russian plane. Air operations in the crowded skies over Syria just got a good deal more complicated. The only mitigating factor is that initial reports suggest that two parachutes were seen so the Russian crew at least got out of their stricken aircraft. Expect diplomatic fireworks.


The ministry stressed that “throughout its flight, the aircraft remained exclusively above Syrian territory”, adding: “Objective monitoring data shows it.”

However, Turkish military officials said its F-16s had fired on an unidentified aircraft after warning it 10 times in the space of five minutes about violating Turkish airspace.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Russian Su-24 aircraft based in Latakia province have flown hundreds of sorties over northern Syria

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said the warplane crashed in a mountainous area of Latakia province, where air strikes and fighting between rebels and Syrian government forces had been reported earlier on Tuesday.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV quoted an ethnic Turkmen rebel group as saying it had captured one of the Su-24’s two pilots and were “looking for the other”.

Russian aircraft have flown hundreds of sorties over northern Syria since September. Moscow says they have targeted only “terrorists”, but activists say its strikes have mainly hit Western-backed rebel groups.

Turkey, a staunch critic of Mr Assad, has warned against violations of its airspace by Russian and Syrian aircraft.

Last month, Ankara said Turkish F-16s had intercepted a Russian jet that crossed its border and two Turkish jets had been harassed by an unidentified Mig-29.

شاهد أيضاً

! Coptic Activist Medhat Kelada:Doch nicht in Isrrael

Unsere Länder im Nahost verfluchen wir den Terrorismus, den wir selber produzieren, verdammen den Rassismus, …