Today, at 10:24 (MSK) an F-16 fighter of the Turkish Air Force shot down Su-24M tactical bomber of the Russian Aerospace Forces, which was performing a combat sortie over the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. The fighter supposedly performed the strike with IR homing headed short-range missile.
The objective monitoring data confirmed that the Turkish warplane did not make any attempt to establish a communication or visual contact with the Russian bomber.
The missile hit the Su-24M aircraft over the territory of Syria. The bomber crash place is on the territory of Syria four kilometres far from the borderline. The Su-24M crew managed to eject. According to the preliminary data, fire from the ground killed one of the pilots.
The objective monitoring data shows that the Russian aircraft did not cross the Turkish borderline.
Data received from the Syrian Air Defence Forces confirmed this fact as well.
Moreover, radar reconnaissance data, which was received from the Hmeymim airbase, registered Syrian airspace violation by the attacking aircraft of the Turkish Air Force.
This fact is assessed as a flagrant violation of international law with extremely grave consequences and the direct breach of Memorandum on air incident prevention and flight safety over the Syrian Arab Republic, which had been signed by the USA and relevant for all countries of the coalition, including Turkey.
That is why the Turkish party started urgent consultations with the NATO instead of immediate contacting with the Russian Defence Ministry.
Defence Attaché of Turkey in the Russian Federation was presented a decisive protest against the actions of the Turkish Air Force, which had led to the loss of the Russian aircraft.
It is to be mentioned that from the beginning of the operation, the Russian Defence Ministry had established a direct telephone line between the National Centre for State Defence Control of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of National Defence of Turkey. But it has no practical use due to the fault of the Turkish party.
In order to evacuate the Russian pilots from the landing point, a search-and-rescue operation was conducted by two Mi-8 helicopters. In the course of the operation, one of helicopters was damaged by small arms fire and performed an emergency landing in the neutral area. One contract serviceman – member of Marine Troops – was killed.
The personnel of the search-and-rescue team and the helicopter crew were evacuated and are now at the Hmeymim airbase. The helicopter was destroyed by mortar fire conducted from the territory controlled by illegal armed groups.
The operation on searching and rescuing the crew of the Russian bomber is continued.
It is to be emphasized that in the action area of the Russia aviation the Syrian governmental troops are conducting operation on elimination of illegal armed groups, which include over 1000 militants from the North Caucasus according to the Russian data sources.
It is to be stressed that none of the Russian partners and none of the states, which are fighting against ISIS, has mentioned that there are units of so-called “moderate opposition” in that they do not recommend to make strikes in this area. On the contrary, these territories are known as the ones controlled by the most radical illegal armed groups.
Now the General Staff is elaborating additional security measures for the Russian airbase.
-- First: All the activities of the attack aviation will be carried out only under cover of fighter aircraft.
-- Second: Air defence will be reinforced. For that purpose, the Moskva cruiser equipped with air defence system Fort analogous to the S-300 one will go to the shore zone of Latakia. Russian Defence Ministry warns that all the potentially dangerous targets will be destroyed.
-- Third: Contacts with Turkey will be terminated at the military level.