Turkish Air Force F16s have shot down a Syrian warplane, claiming it violated Turkey’s airspace.
The Syrian jet crashed near the Syrian town of Kasab, close to the Turkish border. where regime forces have been tried to repel an insurgent offensive.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the downing of the Syrian plane.
Damascus said the Turkish action was “unprecedented and unjustifiable”. A military source said, “In a flagrant act of aggression that is evidence of Erdoğan’s support for terrorist groups, Turkish anti-aircraft defences shot down a Syrian military aircraft that was chasing terrorist groups inside Syrian territory at Kasab.”
Broadcast on Turkish TV showing smoke from the downed warplane:
Message from the Syrian pilot who survived the crash:
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) March 23, 2014
On Friday the Assad regime accused Ankara of supporting the “terrorist” offensive in Latakia Province in western Syria.
Erdogan said during an election rally in northwest Turkey:
A Syrian plane violated our airspace. Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard.
I congratulate the chief of general staff, the armed forces and those honourable pilots….I congratulate our air forces.
President Abdullah Gül called army chief General Necdet Özel to congratulate him.