Turkish armed forces shot down a Syrian plane on Sunday that Ankara said had crossed into its air space in an area where Syrian rebels have been battling President Bashar al-Assad’s forces for control of a border crossing.
“A Syrian plane violated our airspace,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election rally in northwest Turkey. “Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard.”
Syria condemned what it called a “blatant aggression” and said the jet was pursuing rebel fighters inside Syria. It said the pilot had managed to eject before the plane crashed.
The Turkish general staff said one of its control centres detected two Syrian MIG-23s around 1 pm (1100 GMT) and warned them four times after they came close to the Turkish border.
One plane entered Turkish airspace at Yayladagi, east of the Kasab border crossing, it said. A Turkish F-16 fired a rocket at the Syrian jet and it crashed around 1,200 metres (1,300 yards) inside Syrian territory.
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