Turkey Downs Syrian Helicopter, Claims it Violated Airspace
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Syrian MI-17 attack helicopter, saying it made a 2km incursion into its airspace and ignored warnings.
The Turkish military has released a statement saying that it first identified the Russian-built helicopter 26 nautical miles (48 km) away from its airspace, and radioed the pilots until it was within 5 nautical miles (9 km) of it.
Reacting to the incident, Syria has accused its neighbor of trying to escalate tensions along the border, RT reported.
"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," Syria's armed forces said in a statement reported by the state news agency SANA.
The helicopter was shot down by a patrol of two F-16s launched from the Kurecik Air Force Base, on the eastern side of Turkey, which shares a 900 km border with Syria.