Turkey shoots down Russian military plane on Syria border

Published: November 24, 2015
A file picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber taking off from the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. PHOTO: AFP

A file picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber taking off from the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA / BRUSSELS: Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian military plane on the Syrian border, local media reported, citing military sources.

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A plane exploded in the air and the fireball fell on a Turkmen mountain on the Syrian side of the border, CNN-Turk and NTV televisions reported. A Turkish government official told AFP: “We are tying to identify the nationality of the plane.”

Meanwhile, the Turkish presidency said the warplane shot down by Turkey was Russian, adding the aircraft had violated Turkish airspace.

“A Russian Su-24 plane was downed under the rules of engagement because it violated the Turkish air space despite the warnings,” the presidency said.

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However, Russia while confirming that the military plane Turkey shot down at the Syrian border was a Sukhoi Su-24 jet clarified that the jet did not enter Turkish space.

“Presumably as a result of firing, an Su-24 plane of the Russian forces crashed in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Russian news agencies quoted the defence ministry as saying. The ministry said the fate of the pilots was not yet clear.

Rebel and opposition activist sources told AFP that one Russian pilot of a plane downed by Turkey over northern Syria on Tuesday is dead and a second is missing,

The sources said the first pilot was killed by opposition forces who shot at him as he landed after ejecting from the plane.

Several videos circulating online and shared on opposition social media sites purported to show the dead pilot surrounded by rebels from different factions.

Long criticised by its allies for taking too soft a line against militants, Turkey is taking firmer action against the Islamic State on the border with Syria after being shaken by attacks on its soil and the Paris assaults.

Turkey, US to intensify drive to push Islamic State from Syria 

Ankara is sealing its border to the militants who moved to and fro across the frontier during much of the four-year civil war in Syria and stepping up raids against Islamic State suspects.

NATO in ‘close contact’ with Turkey after Russian jet downed

NATO is in “close contact” with Ankara and watching developments after key alliance member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, an official said Tuesday.

“NATO is monitoring the situation closely. We are in contact with Turkish authorities,” the official told AFP in an email.

He gave no further details and made no comment when asked whether Turkey would seek an emergency NATO meeting, as it did in early October after Russian planes violated its airspace several times.

On that occasion, NATO condemned the Russian incursions and warned of “the extreme danger of such irresponsible behaviour.”

All 28 NATO members pledge a one-for-all, all-for-one response to any military threat if a member invokes what is known as Article Five when it comes under attack.

The only time this has been invoked was by the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Point
    Nov 24, 2015 - 2:13PM

    Learn Pakistan Learn!!! Pakistanis always would love the drone strikes to be conducted by Pakistan but will always hate it when conducted by a foreign country!!Recommend

  • Kamal
    Nov 24, 2015 - 2:22PM

    Hmm!!! Interesting. Russian military response should be swift and hard. I think Turkey forgets itself of who it is. When superpowers engage directly it is best to err on the side of caution and get away from the melee. Even the US is very careful in engagements in the crowded airspace in Syria. Lets see, Turkey will not be allowed to get away without repercussions. Recommend

  • riz
    Nov 24, 2015 - 2:25PM

    world war about to commence.Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Nov 24, 2015 - 2:26PM

    are we at the brink of another world war? forget ISIS, its getting even largerRecommend

  • JD
    Nov 24, 2015 - 2:28PM

    Now thats… a sovereign nation.Recommend

  • Shazia Bangash
    Nov 24, 2015 - 2:48PM

    @Kamal: The Russian SU24 came down in Syria and was in Syrian airspace. There is no way Turkey did this without authorisation from NATO high command & the US. That Putin is in Teheran today is no coincidence.Recommend

  • Aziz
    Nov 24, 2015 - 3:23PM

    Turkey has a bad habit of starting World Wars (both 1 and II). And changging sides.

    It sided with the Nazis during WW2 then changed over to the Americans afterwards. Turkey almost got “roasted” during the Cuban missile crisis. Fortunately better sense prevailed amongst the Americans and the Russians and Turkey was spared. Recommend

  • mr kolevski
    Nov 24, 2015 - 4:33PM

    I hope russia drops a million nukes on turkey for this lack of respect and provocative nato behaviour and turkey becomes a waste land over run by pigsRecommend

  • Raisani
    Nov 24, 2015 - 4:55PM

    Turkey may pay heavy cost of this. Recommend

  • Farru
    Nov 24, 2015 - 5:59PM

    While I stand with the free world, this action from Turkish leadership shows they are protecting IS.

    This will only fuel problems between Russia and the west.

    And, guess who benefits: IS.Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2015 - 7:20PM

    Multiple countries involvement in Syrian conflict aggravating and promoting, terrorism,,,can’t believe it’s 2016 and 3rd world War going to start,,, at the moment Russia,, America,, Iran,, saudia,, Israel promoting terrorism world wide Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Nov 24, 2015 - 7:36PM

    Pakistan and Turkey have enjoyed excellent, brotherly relations all along and Pakistanis fondly remember the affection and devotion shown by Turkish government and people, especially at the time of disasters like earthquake. And Mrs. Erdogan even donated her necklace for relief work. With that background, it would be with a heavy heart that I would criticize Turkey, but criticize I must.

    A few years back, Turkey seemed set to play a very useful role in the region and there were times that it even tried to mediate between Israel and Syria. From that stance, to the present one where Turkey is aiding and abetting anti- Bashar al-Assad activists, it is a hundred-eighty degree turn. Doesn’t Turkey realize that removal of Bashar al-Assad will do to Syria what removal of Saddam Hussain and Col. Moammar Gaddafi did to Iraq and Libya respectively? And without the active support of Russia, Iran and Hezabollah, Syria would have met the same fate

    And if those who are busy trying to change the map of Middle East – and have already succeeded in Iraq and Libya – had their way, Syria would have been totally destroyed by now. And had that happened, Turkey would have been next on the chopping board, for which the pre-invasion destabilization process already seems to have been set in motion.

    Now NATO is offering Turkey full support; perhaps NATO countries would love a confrontation building up between Turkey and Russia, which would make their own work much easier. Turkey must remember that these were many NATO members who have consistently denied Turkey a membership of European Union when all else have been allowed in.

    For the sake of suffering people, and indeed for their own sake, it is time for Muslim states in the region to forget their ethnic and sectarian differences and join hands against disruptive forces, which is the only way to ensure their survival; otherwise they will all be destabilized, one by one.

    And Russia is playing a useful role, trying to eliminate Daesh and to bring stability to Syria. Turkey should cooperate with, and not confront Russia.

    When will the Muslims wake up, if ever?


  • cautious
    Nov 24, 2015 - 8:47PM


    Russian military response should be
    swift and hard. I think Turkey forgets
    itself of who it is. When superpowers
    engage directly it is best to err on
    the side of caution

    You ignore the obvious 1) Russia isn’t a superpower and 2) Turkey is a member of NATO which includes the USA which is a “superpower”. Russia isn’t going to do anything other than whine.Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    Nov 24, 2015 - 9:25PM

    ISIS success in last 2-3 is with the blessing of Turkey,Jordan & KSA,now Russian factor will be serious repercussion .Recommend

  • Akbar
    Nov 24, 2015 - 10:56PM

    A very unfortunate incident.
    I pray that common sense prevails and the two sides (Turkey and Russia) apologise to each other for their respective actions. Both are wrong!
    Provocative behaviour will not help anyone. They must respect each other.
    It would be nice to see Turkey and Russia joining hands against those destroying the peace of the land. Recommend

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