Syria shoots down Turkish warplane
The Syrian authorities have confirmed that they shot down a Turkish F4 fighter jet with two crew yesterday after it entered Syrian airspace. The official statement as published in the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) is as follows:
“A military spokesman issued the following statement: At 11:40 AM on 22/6/2012, an unidentified aerial target violated Syrian airspace, coming from the west at a very low altitude and at high speed over territorial waters, so the Syrian anti-air defences counteracted with anti-aircraft artillery, hitting it directly as it was 1 kilometre away from land, causing it to crash into Syrian territorial waters west of Om al-Tuyour village in Lattakia province, 10 kilometres from the beach.
The spokesman added that the target turned out to be a Turkish military plane that entered Syrian airspace and was dealt with according to laws observed in such cases.
The spokesman also said that the two countries’ naval forces’ commands have established contact, and Syrian naval ships along with the Turkish side are searching for the two missing pilots.”
The Turkish military have confirmed that they lost an aircraft, saying that it disappeared from their radar and radio contact was lost at 11:58 a.m. (local time) on Friday.
The Anadolu News Agency published the following statement:
“A fighter jet of Turkish Air Forces, crashed over the Mediterranean on Friday, was shot down by Syria, said a statement from the Turkish premier’s office.
“It is understood from the data provided by related institutions and information gathered in the framework of a joint search and rescue efforts with Syria that our plane was downed by Syria,” said the statement released after a late night security meeting chaired by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Cabinet members and military officers.
The statement said Turkey would show “its final attitude” and make necessary steps after the incident is fully clarified.
The statement added that search and rescue efforts were still underway.
A Turkish air force jet, reportedly an F-4, went off the radar earlier Friday 8 miles away from the Syrian town of Latakia over the Mediterranean Sea.”
The shooting down is likely to heighten tensions between Turkey and Syria, with Turkey a member of NATO, and lead to possibly more confrontation.
Turkey confirmed yesterday that 16,825 Syrians have now crossed the border and are being cared for by the Turkish authorities.