Turkish F-16 shoots down Syrian jet
Sunday, March 23, 2014
HATAY - The Syrian warplane, which violated Turkey's airspace and was subsequently shot down by F-16 pilots, was photographed by the Anadolu Agency.
AA's photo journalist Ali Ihsan Ozturk said, "We heard the sound of the plane which was coming from Syria then we saw that it was shot down by the Turkish planes. We managed to take photos of the plane while it was crashing."
Ozturk stated that the plane crashed while he was following the consequences of the clashes between the Syrian government and the opposition in Kasab in northwestern Syria from the neighboring town of Yayladagi in Turkey.
He also added that three mortar shells dropped on Yayladagi due to the clashes in Kasab.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yılmaz has said of the incident that "Turkey's determination should not be tested by anybody. Turkey is able to protect its land and motherland. Today's event showed that."
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that whoever is responsible for the incident will see a reprisal, in his speech at a local election rally in Balikesir, northwestern Turkey.
Two Syrian MIG-23 fighter aircrafts approached Turkey's airspace along the Turkish-Syrian border around 1pm on Sunday, according to a press release from the office of Turkish Chief of Staff.
"One of the planes diverted its course after four warnings; however, the other plane violated Turkey's airspace at 1:13pm by about a kilometer, and headed west and continued to fly in Turkish airspace for about one and a half kilometer," it said.
"One of the two F-16 pilots, who were on air patrol at the time, fired a missile at the Syrian aircraft at 1:14pm in accordance with the engagement rules. The plane went down near the Syrian town of Kasab, about 1,200 meters south of the border," the press release concluded.
President Abdullah Gul underlined that Turkey had demonstrated its resolution and determination to protect its borders.
"Turkey acted in accordance with international law, and retaliated against a breach of its sovereignty," Turkish parliament speaker, Cemil Cicek, said.
The pilot of the downed aircraft reportedly survived the incident, having jumped out with a parachute.
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