Turkey has shot down a Syrian regime plane today 23rd March near the Kasab crossing on the border with Syria, Prime Minister Erdogan confirmed during an election rally.
“A Syrian plane violated our airspace, our F-16 took off and shot it down,” Erdogan said in an address to his supporters in Kocaeli. “I congratulate our chief of general staff and our pilots.”
Reports say that a second Syrian jet, which had also entered Turkish airspace, had managed to escape Turkish anti-aircraft fire.
“Our response from now will be heavy if you violate our airspace,” the Prime Minister warned President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Shortly after, Damascus also confirmed that the plane was shot down by Turkey. Syria has accused Turkey of “flagrant aggression” and that the jet was pursuing “terrorist groups.”
A Syrian military source confirmed that the pilot had ejected from the aircraft.
The plane crashed in the buffer zone between the borders separating Syria’s Latakia region and Hatay’s Samandag district, where fighting had been continuing for three days, Dogan News Agency reported. Kasab is the westernmost border crossing between Turkey and Syria.
On 11th September 2013, Turkish jet fighters downed a Syrian helicopter 2013 which, Ankara said, was detected two kilometres inside Turkish airspace. Turkey had changed its rules of engagement following the downing of one of its own military jets by the Syrian Air Force in June 2012.