World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated during his party rally in Kocaeli that Turkish F-16 jets striked down the Syrian plane that violated Turkey's air space. Erdogan added Turkey will respond any violation with necessary steps.
"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 this will be hard," he told a rally of his supporters in northwest Turkey ahead of March 30 local elections.
Syrian activists said the incident occurred close to an area where Syrian rebels have been battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces for control of a border crossing between the two countries.
The rebels have been fighting for control of the Kasab crossing, the border region, since Friday, when they launched an offensive which Syrian authorities say was backed by Turkey's military.
Erdogan congratulated the Turkish Chief of Staff as well as the "honorable" pilots of the Turkish Armed Forces who brought down the plane.
Syria said Turkish air defences shot down a Syrian jet on Sunday while it was attacking rebel forces inside Syrian territory, calling the move a "blatant aggression".
State television quoted a military source as saying the pilot managed to eject from the plane.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted local residents as saying the plane was brought down by shooting from the Turkish side of the border. Al Manar, the television station of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, said two rockets were fired from Turkish territory.
Last Mod: 23 Mart 2014, 16:10