Turkey guns down Russian war plane, Putin reacts
Turkey has gunned down a Russian warplane which was reportedly flying over the Turkey-Syrian border. The Russian Su-24 was shot down by military grade F-16s after a series of warnings to the plane that they were invading Turkish airspace. Media reports say that two Turkish F-16s on patrol fired on an unidentified aircraft at 07:24 GMT after several warnings, specifically 10 warnings, in five minutes about violating Turkish airspace over the town of Yayladagi, in the Hatay province.
After the plane was shot down, the warplane landed in the Latakia province, a principal port city in Syria, with one dead victim as other crew members managed to eject themselves from the aircraft before the crash.
The Russian defence ministry has confirmed the incident, claiming that the warplane crashed after being hit from the air, where it was flying at an altitude of 6,000m (19,685ft).
They also claim to have proof that the warplane was flying exclusively over Syrian airspace: “Throughout its flight, the aircraft remained exclusively above Syrian territory. Objective monitoring data shows it.”
It is still subject to confirmation if it was ground fire or Turkish jets that brought down the Russian warplane, reports BBC.
In reaction, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin has said the action was “a stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists” and “I can’t describe it in any other way. Do they want to make NATO serve ISIS? I understand that every state has its own regional interests and we’ve always respected that, but we will never allow the kind of crime that happened to today to take place. And of course we hope that the international community will find the strength to come together and fight against the common evil”, he said.
However, Russian airstrikes which began in late September 2015, have killed about 400 civilians in Syria, as recently reported by Al Jazeera. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), at least 526 civilians have been killed, including 137 children, since Russia launched its first air strikes against the country.