Tensions in between Russia and Turkey are intensifying following Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border.
Turkey has told the United Nations the warplane violated its air space close to the border area, but Russia has denied that the plane had crossed into Turkish skies.
Russian president Vladimir Putin described the downing of its jet as a “stab in the back” committed by “accomplices of terrorists”.
The ABC’s Middle East correspondent Matt Brown, who is in Syria near the Turkish-Syrian border, appears at the important aspects of the incident.
How could some thing like this have happened?
This is just an additional instance of the extremely volatile scenario the Syrian civil war has thrown up.
You have got Turkey backing the rebel groups and having named for the downfall of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
You’ve got Russia in there, bombing all manner of rebel groups. It claims to be focusing on the Islamic State (IS) group but there is constant proof that it is not.
Moscow has been bombing a Turkmen rebel group in the far north-west of Syria, right up near the Turkish border.
In the airspace above Syria, you have got the US-led coalition, such as Australia, bombing targets. You have got the Russians and sometimes you have got the Israelis.
More than the past two days, I’ve been searching up at the sky and seeing the inform-tale contrails of fighter bombers wheeling around in the skies above Hasakah, which is up along the other finish of the Turkish border.
So extremely busy in the skies, quite volatile on the ground, and very volatile between key regional powers.
Is the fate of the pilots still unknown?
There was an early report quoting the Turkmen rebel group in that location exactly where the pilots came down, saying that each Russian pilots have been killed.
They ejected from their aircraft when it was hit.
There is extraordinary footage of it flaming down to the ground.
The rebels claimed they shot the pilots and published a video purportedly showing one particular of them.
But Turkey said the two pilots survived and that they were negotiating for their release.
What are the wider consequences of this?
We’re hearing from Washington that this won’t alter the American bombing campaign targeting IS.
But men and women on the ground right here who have been fighting IS say they are worried that all this tension will somehow disrupt the air campaign.
The air campaign has been vital to hitting every little thing from command posts to suicide car bombers on their way to hit Kurdish militia lines, the folks who are fighting the Islamist jihadists.
So there is some concern there, despite what Washington says.
But along the whole stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border, everyone for a extended time has been aware of the possibilities that planes could be brought down since one was brought down early on in the conflict.
And we’re now hearing from a US-armed rebel group that they shot at a Russian helicopter, forced it to land in Syrian government-controlled territory.
So what has long been a proxy war is piece by piece, step by step, becoming an all out conflict in between major parties, and that is very, really harmful.
Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, defence-forces, world-politics, turkey, syrian-arab-republic, russian-federation