Turkey shoots down drone at Syria border

"Unmanned vehicle" entered airspace from Syria and was targeted by planes patrolling border, Turkish military says.

    Turkey says the aircraft was warned three times before it was shot down [Reuters]
    Turkey says the aircraft was warned three times before it was shot down [Reuters]

    Turkish jets shot down an unidentified drone that had violated Turkey's airspace at the border with Syria, the military said.

    The alien, unmanned aerial vehicle which entered the country's airspace on Friday from Syria continued to advance despite three warnings, the Turkish military said.

    The plane "was shot down by Turkish planes patrolling the border in line with the rules of engagement", a statement said.

    Earlier in October, Turkey complained about Russian warplanes violating its airspace, intrusions that also drew strong condemnation from Turkey's NATO allies.

    The US, Russia and the Syrian government all operate drones in the region.

    Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian defence ministry, told Russian news agencies on Friday that all Russian jets have safely returned to their base and all Russian drones "are functioning normally."

    The Lebanon-based pro-Syrian Al-Mayadeen TV quoted an unnamed Syrian military official as saying that no Syrian or Russian warplane or drone was shot down over Turkey. The official added that Syrian or Russian warplanes or drones did not violate Turkey's airspace.

    There was no immediate comment on the drone by the US embassy in Ankara.
    Since 2013, Turkey has shot down a Syrian military jet, a helicopter and an unmanned surveillance drone that have strayed into Turkish airspace. The incidents occurred after it changed its rules of engagement following the downing of a Turkish fighter jet by Syria.

    Turkey has also reported numerous incidents of harassment of its F-16 jets patrolling the Syrian border by Syrian fighter planes or Syria-based surface-to-air missile systems locking radar on them.

    To ease tensions with Russia, a high-level Russian delegation led by the country's deputy air force commander held talks on Thursday with Turkish military officials in Ankara. The military said the sides had discussed measures Russia was taking to avoid further incidents.

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