UPDATE: Only one of the Russian pilots was killed. The other man was rescued.
ANKARA, TURKEY — A Russian military jet was shot down in Syria near the Turkish border after being warned repeatedly about crossing into Turkish airspace on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
According to the Guardian, Turkish military officials said that the Russian SU-24 bomber crossed the border between Syria and Turkey and was warned 10 times in five minutes not to violate Turkish airspace.
Two Turkish F-16 fighter jets engaged the Russian jet and according to a statement by Russian president Vladimir Putin, it was shot it down with an air-to-air missile. The Russian pilot and weapons officer managed to eject, but both were shot as they parachuted down, a deputy commander of rebel Turkmen forces in Syria told Reuters.
Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV said the plane crashed into an area known as the Turkmen mountain region in Syria. A video sent to Reuters seemed to show the body of one of the pilots being discovered by Syrian rebels. According the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a rescue helicopter was also reportedly shot down by Syrian rebels while it was searching for the pilots.
According to Reuters reports, Russian defense ministry officials said the jet never left Syrian airspace, and Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attack ‘a stab in the back.’ This is the first time a member of NATO has been publicly acknowledged to have downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s.
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