Turkey’s army has shot down a Syrian plane, claiming that it crossed Turkish airspace, at a volatile border region where Syrian army has been engaged in heavy clashes with extremist militant groups.
The Syrian army says the plane was inside Syria when it was targeted, blaming Turkey for its “blatant aggression” which interrupted Syrian army operation in defeating militant forces.
The pro-opposition UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said initial reports from the area said the plane came down on the Syrian side of the border.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election rally of his supporters that “A Syrian plane violated our airspace.”
“Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard,” Erdogan, whose government has been one of the open supporters of the dedly insurgency is Syria, said.
Raging conflict has been going on since Friday over Kasab border crossing on Tureky-Syria border, between militants mainly from al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and the Syrian army.
Syrian government says the battle is directly charged by Turkey as a large number of militants easily pass through its borders while there are also charged with fresh supplies with no preventions from the Turkish side.
Syria said Turkish air defenses shot down the jet while it was attacking militants inside Syrian territory, calling the move a “blatant aggression”.
State television quoted a military source as saying the pilot managed to eject from the plane.
Lebanese Al Manar TV said two rockets had been fired from Turkish territory at the Syrian jet.