Turkey warned Russian jet 10 times before downing it

US military confirms Turkey’s claim of warning Russian jet 10 times before shooting it down

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

The US military on Tuesday backed up Turkey's claim that Turkish pilots had warned a Russian jet trespassing on its air space 10 times before shooting it down, but the jet did not respond.

The Russian war plane was shot down by Turkey over an airspace violation near the Turkish border in northwestern Syria.

"We were able to hear everything that was going on, these (communications) were on open channels," military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

When he was asked if he can confirm that the Turkish pilots had warned the Russian jet 10 times before shooting it down, Warren said: "I can confirm that, yes."

Warren said that it was not immediately clear which side of the Turkish-Syrian border the Russian jet had been flying.

Turkish media reported that the Russian pilots are still alive and Ankara is in contact with the Syrian opposition for an official confirmation.

Turkey informed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the five members of the UN Security Council in writing over the downing of the Russian jet.

"Our units, who received the information that the two pilots were alive, are working to get them from opposition rebels safely," a Turkish government official said speaking to Reuters.

After the incident, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov canceled his expected visit to Turkey on Wednesday.

Russia has been intervening in the Syrian war, which started in 2011, since September 30 in support of the Syrian regime and its leader Bashar al Assad against opposition forces. However, Russia claims it is only targeting ISIS terrorists. 

Around 5,000 Syrian Turkmen were forced to evacuate their villages on the Syrian-Turkish border Friday night following Russia’s intense three day air campaign on their villages.

The Russian air strikes are supporting the ground operations of forces loyal to Syrian regime in the Bayir-Bucak Turkmen area in the rural town of Latakia.

Over four and a half years of fighting in Syria has left over 250,000 Syrians dead, according to UN estimates. More than 6.7 million are displaced internally while at least 5 million have fled the country to the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. 

TRTWorld and agencies