Russian President Vladimir Putin has bitterly condemned the downing of a Russian jet on the Turkey-Syria border.
He described it as a “stab in the back” committed by “accomplices of terrorists”.
Turkey says its jets shot at the plane after warning that it was violating Turkish airspace. But Moscow says it never ever strayed from Syrian airspace.
Nato is to hold an extraordinary meeting to go over the incident at Turkey’s request.
Mr Putin warned there would be “significant consequences” for Moscow’s relations with Turkey.
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He stated the Su-24 was hit by air-to-air missiles fired by Turkish F-16s while it was flying more than Syrian territory.
President Putin stated the plane had been attacked “at a height of six,000 metres (20,000ft), 1km from the border”.
It crashed into Syrian territory 4km from the border, he added.
The two crew members ejected as their burning aircraft plunged into a Syrian hillside. Video footage has shown what appears to be the dead body of 1 of the flyers, surrounded by armed rebels.
“In any case, our pilots, planes did not threaten Turkish territory in any way. It is fairly clear,” Mr Putin mentioned.
“They have been carrying out an operation against Isis [Islamic State] in the mountains of northern Latakia, exactly where militants are focused – who largely originate from the territory of Russia.
“So they had been carrying the key task of preventative attacks against those who could return to Russia at any time. These are folks who have to be straight certified as international terrorists.”
Turkish military officials mentioned the plane was engaged following being warned that it was violating Turkish airspace.
It is the 1st time a Russian aircraft has crashed in Syria since Moscow launched air strikes against militants fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in late September.
The Nato military alliance, to which Turkey belongs, mentioned it was following the situation “closely” and was in get in touch with with the Turkish authorities. There will be an “informational meeting” of ambassadors in Brussels at 16:00 GMT.
The UK-primarily based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated the jet had crashed in the mountainous Jabal Turkmen location of Latakia, exactly where air strikes and fighting amongst rebels and Syrian government forces had been reported earlier on Tuesday.
Russian military helicopters searched for the pilot and navigator near the crash website in the predominantly Turkmen Bayir Bucak location, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported.
A spokesman for a rebel group operating in the region, the 10th Brigade of the Coast, told the Related Press that the jet’s crew had attempted to parachute into government-held territory, but that they came under fire from members of the group.
1 of them was dead when he landed on the ground, he added. The fate of the second was not immediately known.
Turkey, a vehement opponent of Syria’s president, has warned against violations of its airspace by Russian and Syrian aircraft.