Last updated: 22 June, 2012

Turkish army loses contact with plane near Syria

Syria confirmed Saturday that it had shot down a Turkish fighter jet, having opened fired on an “unidentified target” that had entered its airspace, the official SANA news agency reported.

“An unidentified aerial target violated Syrian airspace, coming from the west at a very low altitude and at high speed over territorial waters” in the eastern Mediterranean, a military spokesman told SANA.

Anti-aircraft batteries had opened fire, hitting it as it was one kilometre away from land and it had crashed about 10 kilometres off the coast of Latakia province, in Syrian territorial waters, he added.

“We later confirmed that the target was a Turkish military plane,” the spokesman said.

The two countries’ navies were now cooperating in an operation to find the two missing pilots, the agency reported.

A little earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed in a written statement that Syria had shot down a Turkish fighter jet reported missing over the eastern Mediterranean Friday.

He was speaking after an emergency meeting of top military and government figures in Ankara.

“Turkey will announce its final position and take necessary steps with determination after the incident is entirely clarified,” Erdogan added.

An earlier Turkish army statement said the jet had lost radio contact with its base over the eastern Mediterranean near Syria’s Latakia.