Downing of Syrian Jet Part of Turkish Military Offensive against Syria
nsnbc : A Syrian military jet has been shot down near the Syrian – Turkish border after after it violated Turkish airspace, reports Turkey’s Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan, saying that Turkish F-16s downed the jet. Eyewitnesses inform nsnbc that the jet was over Syrian territory and that the downing of the jet is part of a Turkish military offensive against Syria in the Kassab area the in Lattakia province of Syria.
“A Syrian plane violated our airspace. Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after it will be hard”.
While the first reports were sketchy, nsnbc has spoken with eyewitnesses to the event who stressed that the Syrian plane had not violated Syrian airspace and that the downing of the plane is part of a Turkish military offensive. One of the two eyewitnesses said:
“The jet did not approach the region from the direction of the Turkish border and it was not headed toward the Turkish border when it was struck and burst into flames. It looked like a missile was fired at the plane from the direction of the border”.
The second eyewitness confirmed the statement and added:
“We have seen Turkish special forces alongside the terrorists in the Kassab area two days ago and others have seen them too. The Turkish military has fired heavy and medium caliber artillery rounds and tank shells at our army positions over the last days, I think the special forces are directing their fire. Erdogan is launching an offensive and supports the takfiri. The downing of the jet was part of that transgression”.
Both eyewitnesses are confident that the pilot has managed to eject from the burning plane, but hesitate to provide additional information over the phone or Skype out of concerns for the pilots and their own safety.
The Syrian military also reports that the jet was over Syrian territory, stating that it was shot down while carrying out an attack against insurgents. The Syrian government described the attack as unprecedented and unjustifiable, and reflecting Turkey’s actual involvement in the events in Syria from the beginning and up to now.
Ch/L – nsnbc 23.03.2014