Turkey downs Russian fighter jet near Syria border
Updated: 2015-11-24 17:17
A war plane crashes in flames in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border November 24, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]
ANKARA/MOSCOW - Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday after repeated warnings over air space violations, but Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space.
The Turkish military said the aircraft had been warned 10 times in the space of five minutes about violating Turkish airspace. Officials said a second plane had also approached the border and been warned.
But the Russian defence ministry said the Su-24 plane had not violated Turkish airspace. It said the aircraft had been over Syria for the duration of its flight.
The ministry said the pilots of the jet had ejected and parachuted to the ground.
"During all of the flight the plane was over the territory of Syria. This has been recorded by objective means of control," Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed Defense Ministry official as saying.
Preliminary data showed that the two pilots managed to eject, and details are being investigated, the official added.
It was the first time a NATO member's armed forces have downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s.
A Kremlin spokesman said it was a "very serious incident" but that it was too early to draw conclusions.
Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames in a woodland area, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it. The plane went down in area known by Turks as "Turkmen Mountain", it said.