Turkey says it has shot down a Russian-made warplane on the Syrian border for violating Turkish airspace.
Two Turkish officials told Al Jazeera the plane was shot down on Tuesday by the Turkish military according to the rules of engagement.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
Reports said the plane crashed in Syrian territory in Latakia’s Yamadi village.
A Turkish military statement said the plane violated Turkish airspace in Hatay province and was warned “10 times in five minutes”.
“Our two F-16 planes on air patrol duty intervened … on November 24, 2015, 9:24am, according to the rules of engagement,” the statement said.
Rebel forces have told Al Jazeera that bodies of both pilots have been recovered. It is also reported that Russian helicopters were searching for the pilots close to the Turkish-Syrian border.
The Turkish president’s office identified the warplane as Russian-made.
The Russian defence ministry acknowledged that an Su-24 fighter jet crashed in Syria as a result of fire from the ground.
The ministry was quoted by TASS Russian News Agency as saying: “A probe is in progress into the circumstances of the Russian plane crash.”
It said the plane had stayed within Syrian airspace and that “objective monitoring data confirm this”.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman called the downing of the warplane a “very serious incident”, but said it was too early to draw conclusions.
Turkey’s Dogan news agency said witnesses reported that the warplane crashed over tents built in Yamadi village and that the pilots bailed out with the help of parachutes.
Ahmed Davutoglu, Turkey’s prime minister, has ordered the foreign ministry to consult NATO, the UN and related countries on the developments, his office said in a statement.
Last month, Davutoglu said Russia had described its warplane’s violation of Turkey’s airspace as a “mistake”.
A Russian aircraft had entered Turkish airspace near the Syrian border, prompting Turkey to scramble two F-16 jets to intercept it and summon Russia’s ambassador in protest.
“The Turkish armed forces are clearly instructed. Even if it is a flying bird it will be intercepted,” Davutoglu had said.
He warned Turkey’s enemies and allies not to infringe on its airspace but he dismissed the notion of tensions with Russia.