News World Russian warplane shot down near Syria-Turkey border
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Russian warplane shot down near Syria-Turkey border

russia warplane on fire
The plane was trailed by a tail of flames. Getty
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Conflicting stories have emerged of the events leading up to the downing of a Russian warplane near Turkey’s border with Syria on Tuesday.

Two Turkish F-16 jets shot down the aircraft, a Russian Su-24 fighter, after it violated the country’s airspace and ignored multiple warnings, according to a Turkish military official.

The Russian aircraft was warned 10 times in five minutes and was “downed under the rules of engagement because it violated the Turkish airspace despite the warnings”, Turkish presidential sources told the state Anadolu agency.

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But Russia’s defence ministry put forward a different version of events, refuting the claim their jet had violated Turkish airspace and said they were able to prove the plane’s location.

parachute down
The pilots parachuted from the plane before the crash. Photo: Getty

“Presumably as a result of firing, an Su-24 plane of the Russian forces crashed in the Syrian Arab Republic,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

“The plane was at an altitude of 6,000 metres. Throughout its flight the plane remained exclusively over Syrian territory.”

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said it was “a very serious incident”, but it was too early to draw conclusions.

“It is just impossible to say something without having full information,” he said.

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu spoke with the chief of military staff and the foreign minister about the developments on the Syrian border, the prime minister’s office said in a statement, without mentioning the downed jet.

“Necessary initiatives will be taken at NATO, UN and at the level of countries concerned by the foreign ministry upon instructions from Mr Prime Minister,” a statement from Mr Davutoglu’s office said.

A video that showed the plane plummeting to the ground, followed by a plume of black smoke, emerged in Turkish media.

A loud crash could be heard as the plane disappeared behind a mountain range, landing in Syria’s northwestern Turkmen town of Bayirbucak near Turkey’s border.

Footage from Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the plane before it crashed, however it was not yet clear where they had landed.

A video sent by Syrian rebel group Tenth Costal Brigade to Reuters news agency claimed to show one of the pilots lying immobile on ground. An official from the group said he was dead.

Broadcaster CNN Turk reported that one of the pilots was in the hands of Turkmen forces in Syria, who were searching for the other pilot.

A coalition of forces, including Australia, have launched airstrikes in Syria in recent months.

Turkey called this week for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss attacks on Turkmens in neighbouring Syria, and last week Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the bombing of their villages.

Ankara has traditionally expressed solidarity with Syrian Turkmens, who are Syrians of Turkish descent.

Tensions with Turkey were ignited in early October, when Russian military aircraft violated air borders twice in three days.

The aircraft crossed in the Hatay area, a similar location to the latest alleged breach, with Ankara threatening a response if provoked again.

– with agencies

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