The Two Versions Of The Latakia Plane Incident ~ Moon Of Alabama, November 24, 2015.
Edited and updated
Turkey says two of its F-16 fighters shot down a jet that had crossed into Turkey and then crashed in Syria:
Two Turkish F-16’s shot down a Russian-made SU-24 jet on Nov. 24 near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace, presidential sources said.Turkey shot down the jet after it failed to heed the warnings within the rules of engagement.
Initial reports said the jet belonged to Russia, but presidential sources later clarified that the jet’s nationality was unknown.
The Turkish Armed Force also stated that the jet of “unknown nationality” had been warned 10 times in five minutes about its violation of the border.
Meanwhile, a Turkish official told Reuters that two warplanes approached Turkish border and were warned before one of them was shot down.
The jet was Russian SU-24. One pilot was killed and the body is in the hands of “rebels”. At the of a video the “rebels” made of the dead pilot they call themselves “mujahideen”. One pictureshows the body with two bullet holes in the chests suggesting that he was illegally executed. A rebel source claims that he was shot while parachuting from the burning plane. That is a war crime under the Geneva Convention. A second pilot was probably wounded but was said to have landed somewhere in Syrian army covered territory. The search for him is ongoing.
Russia’s official version of the incident is remarkably different from Turkey’s:
Today an aircraft from the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic crashed on the territory of Syria supposedly shot down from the ground.The aircraft was flying at the altitude of 6 000 metres. The status of the Russian pilots is being defined.
According to the preliminary data, the pilots managed to eject from the warplane.
The circumstances of the crash are being defined.
During all the flight time, the aircraft was flying only within the borders of the Syrian territory. That was registered by objective monitoring data.
The Russian version leaves it open who shot the plane down. Is that meant to deescalate?
Turkey claims that the red line here shows the flightpath of the Russian plane.
If that is correct than the (alleged) violation of Turkey’s airspace was for just some 5 seconds and would in no way justify to shot down the plane. Just Friday Turkey “warned” Russia over attacks on “Turkmen” in Syria. This then was not legitimate air-defense but an ambush. Most NATO country will shake their heads over the irresponsible Turkish behavior and will not get further involved such lunacy.
So there will likely be no war over this but a lot of strong statements will be issued. NATO councils and the UN Security Council may meet. But the propaganda preparation for war is targeted at the Islamic State and Syria, not at Russia.
In a separate incident two Russian journalists covering the Syrian army were wounded by a projectile from the “rebels”.
The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov canceled his visit to Turkey which was planned for tomorrow. After having lost many “western” tourists Turkey will now also lose the last Russian guests. There are many hotels in Antalya that will have to close down. Turkey’s energy supplies depend on Russian (and Iranian) gas. The shooting down of the plane may lead to “technical problems” with those supplies. The PKK fighting the state in Turkey’s east may soon have a new sponsor and modern weapon supplies.
The area where the plane came down is in Latakia, some 3.5 kilometers from the Turkish border. It is in the hand of what Turkey calls “Turkmen” which may mean imported Uighur and Uzbek Islamist fighters – mujahideen like they call themselves in the video. They are now already under sharply increased artillery fire. They may soon have to endure some very violent direct attacks by Russian special forces. Future Russian air-to-ground attacks in the area will be flown with “top cover” from additional fighter jets ready to engage the Turks with the very best Russian weapons as soon as they make the tiniest mistake.
In short. This Turkish escalation step will be answered.
UPDATE: Putin just held a press conference with the Jordan King Abdullah on his side(!) and boy was he pissed. Some major points:
- Confirms Turkish version of air-to-air missile but says plane was in Syrian airspace
- Describes Turkish attack as “a stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists“
- “Together with our US partners we signed an agreement to prevent” incidents like this
- “Ankara will discuss this tragedy with NATO as if it was Russia who shot down their jet. Does Turkey want NATO to serve ISIS goals?”
- Accuses Turkey of financing, protecting ISIS
- Turkey doing oil business with ISIS
- This will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations