Turkey shots down Syrian helicopter, which has allegedly violated Turkish airspace.
According to reports, two Turkish F-16 jet fighters have shot down a Syrian MI-17 attack helicopter because the Syrian military helicopter has allegedly violated Turkish airspace. The Syrian MI-17 attack helicopter was brought down by Turkish F-16 jet fighters when it allegedly made a 2 kilometres incursion into the Turkish airspace and ignored the warnings by the Turkish military.
The official statement by the Turkish military says that the Russian-made attack helicopter of the Syrian army was first identified about 26 nautical miles (48 km) away from the Turkish airspace. The Turkish military has then radioed the pilots of the Syrian attack helicopter when it was within 5 nautical miles (9 km) of the Turkish airspace.
Also the Syrian military has meanwhile published a statement about the downing of its MI-17 attack helicopter by the Turkish military. The statement by the Syrian military says that the Turkish government and army are trying to escalate the tensions along the Syrian-Turkish border.
The following statement by the Syrian military about the downing of one of its attack helicopters by missiles of Turkish F-16 jet fighters was published by the Syrian state news agency SANA:
“The hasty response from the Turkish side, especially as the aircraft was on its way back and was not charged with any combat missions, is proof of the true intentions of Erdogan’s government toward Syria, to increase tensions and escalate the situation on the border between the two countries.”
Of course, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc underlined the statement by the Turkish military that the Syrian attack helicopter was shot down by the Turkish F-16 jet fighter when it has violated the airspace of Turkey. The Syrian attack helicopter has allegedly ventured up to 2 kilometres into the Turkish airspace and was near the border town of Yayladagi when it was brought down by the Turkish jet fighter.
Bulent Arinc, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, said in his statement about the downing of the Syrian helicopter that the Syrian pilots were “continuously warned by our air defence” but that the violation of the Turkish airspace continued despite the warnings.
The Syrian attack helicopter was shot down, and as further stated by Bulent Arinc, it fell on Syrian soil at 2:25 pm (1125 GMT). The Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey repeated the information of the Turkish army that the Russian-made attack helicopter of the Syrian military has been hit by missiles from several Turkish jet fighters. At least, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey said that the Syrian attack helicopter has been hit by the missiles of Turkish planes and thus, more than one Turkish jet fighter fired at the Syrian helicopter.
The updated information says that the Syrian attack helicopter was downed by a patrol of two American-made F-16 jet fighters, which launched from the Kurecik Air Force Base in Turkey. The Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey also said in his statement about the downing of the Syrian attack helicopter by two US-made F-16 jet fighters that “the army relaxed its rules of engagement after Syria shot down a Turkish plane in June last year, killing two pilots” and that now every approach from an aircraft operated by the Syrian army “is treated as a military threat”.
Also the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has already made a statement about the downing of the Syrian attack helicopter by Turkish jet fighters. Davutoglu said in Paris that “no one will have the courage to violate Turkish airspace again,” and that the Turkish government will brief the other member states of NATO and the UN Security Council (UNSC) about the downing of the Syrian attack helicopter and the violation of Turkish airspace by a Syrian military helicopter.
The so-called one man observatory in Britain, the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Syria” said in a statement that it has received reports that at least one of the pilots of the downed Syrian attack helicopter was captured by terrorists on Syrian soil. However, actually the fate of the Syrian pilots is unknown so far and the reports by the so-called “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” are in principle just based on unverified mails and statements from Syria.