Turkish forces shot down a Russian plane near the Syrian border after repeated warnings over air space violations; Moscow claims the jet was in Syrian air space
Ankara: NATO member Turkey yesterday shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border, an act Russian President Vladimir Putin said would have “serious consequences” for ties between two key protagonists in the Syria war.
A woman holds a poster as she pickets the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, Russia. Pics/PTI
The Turkish army said the plane was shot down by two F-16s after violating Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period, an account challenged by Moscow, which said it was over Syria. Turkish television pictures showed the jet exploding and crashing in a ball of flames into a Syrian mountain.
A TV video grab shows the Russian jet on fire before crashing on a hill
‘Pilots are alive’
Clearing the air about the lives of two pilots, who were in the plane, Turkish government officials said, “Turkey has information that the two pilots are alive and right now Turkey is trying to recover them,” the official said, NATO has called an emergency meeting over the incident, the first-of-its-kind since Russia launchedair strikes in Syria in September, to the consternation of the West.
‘Stab in the back’
Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the act as a “stab in the back” by “accomplices of terrorists.” He said, “The Russian pilots and the warplane have in no way threatened Turkey. This is obvious. We would not tolerate this”
The Turkish side
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, “Everyone must know that it is our international right and national duty to take any measure against whoever violates our air or land borders.”