Turkey and Russia have been engaged in war of words after Turkish fighter jets brought down a Russian warplane near the Turkey-Syria border.
The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane crashed in Syrian territory in Latakia’s Yamadi village after it was shot down for violating Turkish airspace. The downing of the plane has angered the Russian government, which is conducting airstrikes against the terrorists in Syria since September.
According to sources, an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet downed the plane, which was carrying out air strikes targeting Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. It fell in Syrian territory four kilometers from the border with Turkey. The Syrian Turkmen Brigade, a rebel group in Syria, released a video showing a dead Russian pilot while the fate of other pilot is unknown.
According to Turkish officials, two Turkish F-16s intervened the Russian military aircraft as it violated country’s airspace in Hatay province and was warned 10 times in space of five minutes before being shot down at 9:24 am local time.
“Today’s loss is linked to a stab ion the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expressed that Istanbul had a duty to act against anyone violating its borders. “Everyone must know that it is our international right and national duty to take any measures against whoever violates our air or land borders,” said Mr. Davutoglu.
After the incident, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cancelled a planned trip to Turkey on Wednesday. Moscow has also released an official statement stating that the Russian citizens are advised not to visit Turkey as the terror threat there was no less than in Egypt, where a bomb attack brought down a Russian passenger plane last month.
Turkey, a NATO ally, has asked for support and solidarity from the NATO member nations about the issue of airspace violation. US President Barack Obama also backed Turkey’s right to defend its territory. IMAGE/Anadolu Agency