World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish General Staff on Sunday denied a news report appeared on the Wall Street Journal that a Turkish military plane which was shot down by Syria last week on Friday was hit in Syrian airspace.
A statement from the Turkish General Staff said radar tracking data and radio communication records had shown that the Turkish RF4 reconnaissance plane was downed by Syria in international airspace after the plane violated Syrian airspace briefly for nearly five minutes and quickly left.
The statement said the plane was flying solo and unarmed with all identification systems switched-on, and it was testing Turkish radar capabilities in the region.
The statement said the plane did not encounter any kind of interception from Syria while it was in Syrian airspace, adding that it was only downed in international airspace approximately 1 mile out of the Syrian territorial waters and 13 miles off the Syrian coast.
The statement also said deep-sea research vessel Nautilus was expected to arrive in the area to join search and rescue efforts carried out to find two missing pilots and the wreckage of the plane.
Citing unnamed US officials, the WSJ report alleged on Friday that "US intelligence indicated that [the] Turkish warplane shot down by Syrian forces was most likely hit by shore-based antiaircraft guns while it was inside Syrian airspace."Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2012, 18:17