Turkish warplanes shot down a drone that violated Turkish air space, flying near the Syrian border on Friday, Turkish military said in a written statement. US official told Reuters that his country suspects the shot down drone may be Russian.
Security experts claim the downed drone is Russian made ‘ORLAN 10’, however a senior Turkish government official told Reuters that the nationality of the drone is not identified yet.
"It's a drone. We are trying to identify its nationality," a senior Turkish government official told Reuters.
The Turkish military had said earlier that an aircraft of unknown origin and nationality was shot down after issuing three warnings, in line with the NATO member's rules of engagement.
The written statement reiterated that Turkey's rules of engagement are strictly followed and that the armed forces will “continue to execute their duties in line with those rules”.
Reuters quoted Turkish TV channel NTV, saying the drone was brought down around 3 km (1.9 miles) inside Turkish air space near the Syrian border.
Neighbouring Syria has been suffering a crippling civil war since March 2011, that war killed over 240,000 people and displaced millions internally and internationally.
Recently on September 30, the Russian military started its operations inside Syria, initially saying the military intervention is aimed at battling the rising ISIS insurgency, however the locations and intensity of Russian airstrikes shows the purpose of the operation to be aiding the withering authority of Bashar al Assad, Syrian regime president.
Russian airstrikes have mainly targeted the Syrian opposition, with few strikes hitting ISIS targets.
Turkish government have been very clear in its stance regarding the tragic Syrian conflict, which is not in favour of Assad regime, given that over 200,000 out of the 240,000 war victims were deliberately killed by Assad regime airstrikes, barrel bombs, chemical weapons and ground raids. Turkey’s stance is shared by most Arab states and the US.
Russia says all its drones operating ‘as planned’
Following the drone incident, the Russian defence ministry said all its planes operating in Syria had safely returned to base and all its drones were operating "as planned”, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Russian jets have previously violated Turkish air space earlier this month, Turkey warned against the repetition of such violations, however the Turkish military have recorded certain incidents where Syria based missiles and Russian aircrafts have harassed its warplanes.
The Turkish military was officially approached by the Russian side on Thursday, in talks about the recent violations and developing mechanisms by which such incidents could be prevented.