Less than an hour ago, Turkey announced that it had shot down an unknown aircraft that crossed into its borders.
Less than an hour ago, a fighter jet was shot down by Turkish forces. According to The Independent, Turkish officials are claiming that the jet, whose nationality was unknown, had violated its airspace and was subsequently shot down by Turkish F-16 fighters, after the unknown aircraft failed to respond to warnings. The Russian Defence Ministry announced that an Su-24 fighter had been shot down from the ground, ensuring that the aircraft did not violate Turkish airspace and was shot down over Syria while flying at an altitude of 6,000 metres, adding that the fate of the two pilots is now unknown.
A video has surfaced on YouTube showing the moment that the two Russian pilots were captured. This is the first attack on Russian forces from Turkey, or any other member of NATO, since the beginning of Russian operations in the area. NATO made a statement on the 28th of October saying that it is ready to defend Turkey's borders in case of any aggression towards its member state.
Video showing the flaming fighter jet crashing in Syria.
Its hard to speculate what the next move will be. Will Russia escalate its operations in Syria? Or, will it be forced to retaliate against Turkey? More updates will be posted as Russia has just called an emergency UN meeting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has released an official statement. Translated by Roland Oliphant in Moscow for the Telegraph Putin states:
"Thanks for your condolences including for the downing of our military plane.
This event is in the context of our fight against terrorism - our military is fighting terrorism. But today’s loss was a blow in the back by the accomplices of terrorists. I can’t qualify this in any other way. Our plane was downed over Syrian territory by an air to air missile from a Turkish F16. It crashed four km from the Turkish border.
At the time it was attacked, it was at an altitude of 6000m and one kilometre from the border with Turkey. In any case our pilots never threatened the territory of Turkey. That much should be obvious.
The pilots were part of an operation against Isil in the mountainous areas of north Latakia, where there is a concentration of militants from the Russian Federation. That is, they were fulfilling their direct duty of preventing attacks by those who might return to Russia. And people who do that should be qualified as international terrorists.
I understand that every state has its own regional interests, and we will always treat them with respect. But we will never tolerate that the perpetrators of such crimes, as it is today.”
We have signed an agreement with our American partners to avoid clashes in the air, and Turkey was one of the countries that announced its participation in the US-led coalition against terrorism.
We will of course carefully analyse everything that happened. Today’s tragic event will have serious consequences including for Russia’s relationship with Turkey.
We have always treated Turkey not just as a close neighbour but as a friendly state. I don’t know who had an interest in what happened to day, but we did not.
Instead of contacting us immediately, as far as we know the Turkish side first turned to their partners in Nato to discuss this incident. As if they downed a Turkish plane and not ours. Do they want to put Nato at the service of Isil? "