'Syrian air defenses shoot down Turkish fighter jet'

Turkey loses contact with military aircraft over southeastern coast; Lebanon's Al-Manar TV reports Syria responsible.

By REUTERS
June 22, 2012 18:27
1 minute read.
Turkish Air Force F-16 [file photo]

Turkish Air Force F-16 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

 
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Lebanon's Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar television station said on Friday that Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish military aircraft, quoting Syrian security sources.

"Syrian security sources confirmed to a Manar correspondent in Damascus that Syrian defense forces shot down the Turkish fighter jet," a news flash on the Beirut-based station said.

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Turkey said on Friday it had lost contact with one of its military aircraft while it was over the sea off the southeastern coast, and a television station said it had crashed in Syrian territorial waters.

CNN Turk television said Turkey was in contact with the Syrian authorities to get permission to conduct a search for the airmen, although there was no immediate official confirmation.

In a statement, Turkey's military said a search and rescue operation was underway. It lost radar and radio contact with the plane after it took off from Erhac Airport in the eastern province of Malatya.

Two crew were aboard the F-4 at the time of the crash, the Turkish state news agency Anatolia said on its website, citing Malatya governor Ulvi Saran.

The Hurriyet daily newspaper reported that the plane had gone down in international waters and that the two airmen had been found alive and well following a search operation by Turkish forces.



The Chief of General Staff declined to comment further on the incident beyond the written statement.

Turkish warplanes regularly patrol along and off Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast.

Pro-Iranian Al-Mayadeen television station, which is based in Lebanon, quoted what it said were Turkish sources as saying a jet had been shot down by Syrian air defenses near the border with Turkey.

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