Turkey downs Russian jet near Syrian border, pilot captured

Ankara, Nov 24 (IANS) Turkish warplanes on Tuesday shot down a Russian SU-24 fighter jet near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace. One of its two pilots was killed and the other was captured, media reports said.

According to Tukish authorities, two F-16 warplanes shot down the Russian jet after it failed to heed at least 10 warnings within the rules of engagement, state-run Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The Rusian defence ministry refuted the claim that the fighter violate the Turkish airspace.

The jet crashed into tents in Latakia’s Yamadi village near the Syrian border where Turkmens are currently staying, according to Turkmen sources. Its two pilots were seen landing with the aid of parachutes, witnesses said.

One of the pilots was killed and the other was captured by Turkmen forces in the region.

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

The Turkish General Staff released the radar trace analysis of the Russian jet. It shows the plane entered the Turkish airspace over the southern province of Hatay while circling over northern Syria.

However, the Russian defence ministry said the downed jet, which was at an altitude of 6,000 metres, did not violate Turkish airspace.

The ministry stressed that “throughout its flight, the aircraft remained exclusively above Syrian territory,” BBC reported.

“Objective monitoring data shows it,” the ministry added.

Turkey is a member of the NATO military alliance, which views an attack on one member as an attack on all.

A NATO official told CNN on Tuesday that the alliance was monitoring the events closely.

“We are in contact with Turkish authorities and will have to wait to see how it develops,” the official said.

Turkey 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.

The Turkish foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador last week to warn him that there would be “serious consequences” if the Russian air force did not immediately stop bombing “civilian Turkmen villages” in Latakia province.

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