One of two pilots aboard a Russian warplane, which was shot down by Turkey, has been ‘picked up by the Syrian Army’, a Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.
Turkish warplanes had on Tuesday shot down a Russian SU-24 fighter jet near the Syrian border after it allegedly violated Turkish airspace. One of its two pilots was killed.
The Turkish Army has maintained that the Russian Su-24 fighter jet was shot down by two of its F-16s after it violated Turkish airspace 10 times within a span of five minutes.
Reacting to the incident, President Vladimir Putin denounced as a “stab in the back” by “accomplices of terrorists” as tensions spiralled between two rival players in the Syria war.
He said oil from jihadist-controlled territory was exported through Turkey while funding was sent the other way, and warned: “The tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.”
Moscow insisted that the jet had stayed inside Syrian territory, and Damascus denounced the incident as “flagrant aggression against Syrian sovereignty”.
The incident was the first of its kind since Russia launched air strikes in Syria in September in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, causing concern in the West over a possible clash with US-led coalition planes also in the skies.