The Turkish army has killed Tuesday a Russian military plane that had, according to Ankara, violated its airspace near its border with Syria, an incident deemed “serious” by Moscow and that caused a sharp rise in tensions between the two country.
The first pilot was killed by opposition forces who shot him as he landed after being ejected from the device. Many videos circulating on the internet and published on social media by the opposition show images presented as that of the dead pilot surrounded by rebels in different Syrian factions.
Seizure by Turkey which is a member, NATO announced that it would hold fast “extraordinary meeting” at 11 am. “NATO is following the situation closely. We are in contact with the Turkish authorities, “told AFP one of his officials.
The Russian aircraft, a fighter-bomber Sukhoi Su-24 kind, crashed in the extreme northwest of the Syrian territory, north of Latakia year, theater for several days of heavy fighting between the army loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, backed by the Russian Aviation and Syrian rebel groups.
The Turkish TV channels showed images of the Russian plane, fire in the sky, and its fall in the mountains near the Turkish border, in front of Hatay province (southern Turkey).
Shortly after the incident, Turkey has justified the use of force. “A Russian Su-24 aircraft was shot down in accordance with the rules of engagement after violating Turkish airspace despite warnings,” said to AFP sources for president.
In a statement published on its website, the Turkish General Staff has confirmed that Russian fighter-bomber had been warned “ten times in the space of five minutes.”
“At around 9 am 20 (2 h 20 Montreal time), a plane to the unknown nationality violated Turkish airspace, despite multiple warnings. Two of our F-16s patrolling the area intervened, “the military said.
“We have in the past publicly explained our military rules of engagement and reminded our partners that any violation of our air space would cause the response provided by these rules,” insisted on condition of anonymity a Turkish official.
“It is not a hostile action against any country, our F-16 have taken the measures necessary to protect Turkey’s national sovereignty,” he said to AFP.
Russia reacted strongly to this incident, the most serious occurred since the beginning of its military intervention alongside the regime in Damascus two months ago. “This is a very serious incident”, told reporters the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov.
The Russian Defense Ministry has previously categorically denied allegations that Turkey’s aircraft had entered Turkish airspace. He “was exclusively in Syrian airspace,” he assured.
A captured pilot
According to Turkish media, both pilots managed to eject before the crash. The CNN-Turk news channel said that one of them was captured Syrian territory by unidentified rebels while the Syrian opposition sources indicated that a pilot was killed and Another missing.
Moscow gave no immediate details on the fate of the two soldiers.
Since the beginning of the Russian military intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad late September frontier incidents have increased between Ankara and Moscow.
Twice Turkish fighter aircraft intercepted Russian military planes involved in Syria who had violated their airspace. The Turkish army had also killed 16 October a Russian drone manufacturing.
“Russia has for some time pulled the rope. I think the commitment of Russia in Syria is a deliberate challenge to Turkey (…) and the capacity of Turkey to play an influential role in the region, “said AFP Ian Shields, a former British military pilot expert at Anglia Ruskin University.
The tension between the two countries increased further in recent days, after a series of Russian bombings that, according to Ankara, targeted villages in the Turkish-speaking minority of Syria. Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador Friday to warn against the “serious consequences” of the operation.
Ankara and Moscow oppose long on the Syrian issue. Russia, with Iran, is the last support of President Bashar al-Assad, whose Islamic-conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demands the immediate departure.
The head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov is expected Wednesday in Ankara to meet with Turkish officials. “There is no change to the program,” told AFP the Turkish Foreign Ministry after the incident.
InformNapalm volunteer group has conducted a preliminary identification of one of the pilots of Su-24 bomber downed today by the Turkish air forces.
Our sources in the Syrian opposition say that one of Su-24 aircraft’s pilots died and the other one was captured. Two Russian search and rescue helicopters worked in the crash area, but they had to retreat and return to the base because of the ground fire.
According to the preliminary estimates, major Rumyantsev Sergei Aleksandrovich can be the dead pilot – the pilot of Su-24M with serial No. 0715323 from the 6980th guards air base of the 1st rank (military unit No. 69806, airfield Shagol, Chelyabinsk, Russia). The comparison was carried out based on the Twitter message (archive) and photos from InformNapalm‘s database.
We have already written about Rumyantsev and other Russian pilots who participate in hostilities in Syria. In particular, Rumyantsev was mentioned in our story from October 15, 2015: “InformNapalm’s Ultimatum to the Russian Military Authorities in Action – Shelling The Ukrainian and Syrian Civilians Must Be Paid”