Syrian pilot says his aircraft was shot down

The pilot of a Syrian regime military jet that crashed near the Turkish-Syrian border late Saturday says his MiG-23 was shot down. Turkish authorities are investigating the incident.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Wreckage probably from a Syrian regime air force jet that crashed on the Turkish side of the border with Syria on Saturday March 4, 2017. (Still from video)

The Syrian air force pilot who bailed out when his MiG-23 crashed in southeastern Turkey on Saturday said his plane was shot down.

Turkish authorities identified the pilot as 56-year-old Mehmet Sufhan.

Dogan news agency said the pilot was found around 40 km (25 miles) from the wreckage. He was taken to a gendarmerie base and then to a hospital in Hatay.

"The pilot's treatment is continuing right now. A decision would be made after the whole event is clarified, but now it is very fresh," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Nurettin Canikli said.

Canikli said authorities were investigating how the pilot ended up on the Turkish side of the border, what his mission was, and why he had crashed.

Sufhan told Turkish authorities he had taken off from Latakia in Syria, on a mission to hit targets in rural areas near Idlib in northern Syria.

Syrian state television on Saturday said the air force had lost contact with a fighter jet on a mission near the Turkish border. No details were provided.

TRTWorld and agencies