A Russian Su-24 fighter has been shot down in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding the plane hadn’t violated Turkish airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters.
“During the flight, the aircraft was flying within the borders of Syria, which was registered by objective monitoring data,” the ministry said, adding that the aircraft was “supposedly shot down from the ground.”
The pilots managed to eject, the ministry said, adding their fate is as yet unknown.
The downing of the Russian plane is “a very serious incident,” said Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He added, however, that it is too early to draw conclusions until the whole situation is clear.
Footage has emerged online, allegedly showing Russian pilots from the downed jet immobile on the ground and surrounded by locals. Some reports claim that one pilot is dead.
Reports of a downed plane emerged earlier in Turkish media. A Habertürk TV reporter on the scene said the aircraft “turned into a fireball.” Numerous witnesses wrote on social media, saying thick plumes of smoke have been rising from the jet crash site.
Turkish military added the plane had been warned at least 10 times over a period of five minutes before being shot down by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets. He said the plane had violated Turkish airspace.
The plane reportedly crashed in a village mostly populated by Syrian Turkmen. The place has been a hotspot between the opposition and the Syrian Army.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has met with officials from the Foreign Ministry. He instructed them to consult with NATO and the UN on the latest developments on the Syrian border, Davutoglu’s office said in a statement.