2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown

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2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown
Boevye vylety rossiiskoi aviatsii s aerodroma <<Khmeimim>> dlia naneseniia udarov po ob'ektam terroristov v Sirii (9).jpg
A Russian Sukhoi Su-24M similar to that shot down
Incident
Date24 November 2015 (2015-11-24)
SummaryShot down by Turkish F-16 fighter jet
Site Syria–Turkey border
Aircraft
Aircraft type Sukhoi Su-24M
Operator Russian Air Force
Registration 83
Flight origin Khmeimim airbase, Syria
Occupants2
Crew2
Fatalities1
Survivors1

A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M attack aircraft near the Syria–Turkey border on 24 November 2015. [1] [2] According to Turkey, the aircraft was fired upon while in Turkish airspace because it violated the border up to a depth of 2.19 kilometres (1.36 miles) for about 17 seconds after being warned to change its heading 10 times over a period of five minutes before entering the airspace. [3] [4] The Russia Defence Ministry denied the aircraft ever left Syrian airspace, counter-claiming that their satellite data showed that the Sukhoi was about 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) inside Syrian airspace when it was shot down. [5] The U.S. State Department said that the U.S. independently confirmed that the aircraft's flight path violated Turkish territory, and that the Turks gave multiple warnings to the pilot, to which they received no response and released audio recordings of the warnings they had broadcast. [6] [7] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed out that Turkey had the right to defend its airspace. [8] Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the U.S. knew the flight path of the Russian jet and should have informed Turkey; two U.S. officials said that Russia did not inform the U.S. military of its jet's flight plan. [9]

Turkish Air Force Air warfare branch of Turkeys armed forces

The Turkish Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the Turkish Armed Forces. The Turkish Air Force can trace its origins back to June 1911 when it was founded by the Ottoman Empire, however, the air force as it is known today did not come into existence until 1923 with the creation of the Republic of Turkey.

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon Family of fighter aircraft

The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,600 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are being built for export customers. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.

Attack aircraft Tactical military aircraft that have a primary role of attacking targets on the ground or sea

An attack aircraft, strike aircraft, or attack bomber, is a tactical military aircraft that has a primary role of carrying out airstrikes with greater precision than bombers, and is prepared to encounter strong low-level air defenses while pressing the attack. This class of aircraft is designed mostly for close air support and naval air-to-surface missions, overlapping the tactical bomber mission. Designs dedicated to non-naval roles are often known as ground-attack aircraft.

Contents

The Russian pilot and weapon systems officer both ejected from the aircraft. The weapon systems officer was rescued; [10] the pilot was shot and killed by Syrian rebel ground fire while descending by parachute. [11] A Russian naval infantryman from the search and rescue team launched to retrieve the two airmen was also killed when a rescue helicopter was targeted by the rebels. [11]

Weapon systems officer flight crew of combat aircraft tasked with operating weapons and other systems

A Weapon Systems Officer is an air flight officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of a military aircraft.

Ejection seat system designed to rescue the other crew of an aircraft in an emergency

In aircraft, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. In most designs, the seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it. The concept of an ejectable escape crew capsule has also been tried. Once clear of the aircraft, the ejection seat deploys a parachute. Ejection seats are common on certain types of military aircraft.

Naval Infantry (Russia) organization

The Russian Naval Infantry, is the amphibious force of the Russian Navy. The first Russian naval infantry force was formed in 1705, and since that time it has fought in the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the First and Second World Wars. Under Admiral Gorshkov, the Soviet Navy expanded the reach of the Naval Infantry and deployed it worldwide on numerous occasions.

The shooting down of the Sukhoi Su-24M was the first destruction of a Russian or Soviet Air Forces warplane by a NATO member state since the attack on the Sui-ho Dam (during the Korean War). [12] [13] [14] Reactions to the incident included denunciation from Russia and an attempt to defuse the situation by NATO afterwards. Russia deployed the guided missile cruiser Moskva armed with S-300F (SA-N-6 Grumble) long-range SAM missiles off the Syrian coast near Latakia [15] and S-400 (SA-21 Growler) mobile SAM systems to Khmeimim airbase. In response, the Turkish Armed Forces deployed the KORAL land-based radar electronic support system in Hatay Province along the Turkish–Syrian border. [16] [17]

Russian Air Force Air warfare branch of Russias military

The Russian Air Force is a branch of the Russian Aerospace Forces, the latter being formed on 1 August 2015 with the merger of the Russian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. The modern Russian Air Force was originally established on 7 May 1992 following Boris Yeltsin's creation of the Ministry of Defence; however, the Russian Federation's air force can trace its lineage and traditions back to the Imperial Russian Air Service (1912–1917) and the Soviet Air Forces (1918–1991).

Soviet Air Forces Aerial warfare branch of the Soviet Unions armed forces

The Soviet Air Forces was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces. The Air Forces were formed from components of the Imperial Russian Air Service in 1917, and faced their greatest test during World War II. The groups were also involved in the Korean War, and dissolved along with the Soviet Union itself in 1991–92. Former Soviet Air Forces' assets were subsequently divided into several air forces of former Soviet republics, including the new Russian Air Force. "March of the Pilots" was its song.

NATO Intergovernmental military alliance of Western states

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

Background

Erdogan (left) and Putin at the G-20 summit in Antalya on 15 November 2015 Erdogan and Putin in Antalya Summit.jpg
Erdoğan (left) and Putin at the G-20 summit in Antalya on 15 November 2015

After the 2012 shooting down of a Turkish jet by Syrian forces, Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan protested, saying that brief incursions should not trigger an attack, pointing out that Turkey did not shoot down Syrian helicopters that strayed into Turkish airspace. [18] [19] [20] Nevertheless, as a response to the event he announced that Turkey changed its rules of engagement, and said it would start to consider all "military elements" approaching from Syria an enemy threat and would act accordingly. [21] [22] Subsequently, Turkey shot down a Syrian Mi-17 helicopter in September 2013 [23] and a MiG-23 warplane in March 2014. [24]

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 12th President of Turkey from 2014

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a Turkish politician serving as the 12th and current President of Turkey since 2014. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001, leading it to general election victories in 2002, 2007 and 2011 before standing down upon his election as President in 2014. Coming from an Islamist political background and as a self-described conservative democrat, he has promoted socially conservative and liberal economic policies in his administration.

Rules of engagement Guidelines for military force

Rules of engagement (ROE) are the internal rules or directives among military forces that define the circumstances, conditions, degree, and manner in which the use of force, or actions which might be construed as provocative, may be applied. They provide authorization for and/or limits on, among other things, the use of force and the employment of certain specific capabilities. In some nations, ROE has the status of guidance to military forces, while in other nations, ROE is lawful commands. Rules of engagement do not normally dictate how a result is to be achieved, but will indicate what measures may be unacceptable.

Mil Mi-17 family of Russian military transport helicopters

The Mil Mi-17 is a Soviet/Russian helicopter in production at two factories in Kazan and Ulan-Ude. It is known as the Mi-8M series in Russian service. It is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter. There are also armed gunship versions.

Russia is one of several countries directly involved in the Syrian conflict. On 30 September 2015, Russia began its air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other anti-government forces.

Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War political, military and operational support to parties involved in the ongoing conflict in Syria

Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War refers to political, military and operational support to parties involved in the ongoing conflict in Syria that began in March 2011, as well as active foreign involvement. Most parties involved in the war in Syria receive various types of support from foreign countries and entities based outside Syria. The ongoing conflict in Syria is widely described as a series of overlapping proxy wars between the regional and world powers, primarily between the US and Russia as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Syrian Civil War Ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria

The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria fought between the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, and various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations. The war is currently the 2nd deadliest of the 21st century.

Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War

The Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War began in September 2015, after an official request by the Syrian government for military aid against rebel groups. The intervention initially consisted of air strikes fired by Russian aircraft stationed in the Khmeimim base at targets primarily in north-western Syria, against Syrian opposition militant groups opposed to the Syrian government, including the Syrian National Coalition, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al-Nusra Front and the Army of Conquest. In addition, Russian special operations forces and military advisors were stationed in Syria. Prior to the intervention, Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War had mainly consisted of supplying the Syrian Army with arms and equipment. At the end of December 2017, the Russian government said its troops would be based in Syria permanently.

In early October, Turkey and NATO protested against what they saw as Russia's deliberate violations of Turkish airspace. [25] [lower-alpha 1] The Russian Defence Ministry admitted that a Russian Su-30 aircraft had entered Turkish airspace "for a few seconds" because of bad weather, adding that measures had been taken to prevent a repeat of such incidents, however Turkish radar had tracked the aircraft straying into Turkish airspace for up to 8 km (5 mi) lasting "several minutes". [32] [33] [34] From 3–15 October, five discussions between senior ranking officials from Turkey and Russia occurred, concerning Turkish rules of engagement and Russian violations of Turkish airspace. [35] [36] [37] [38] On 6 November 2015, six U.S. Air Force F-15C fighters were deployed by US European Command from the 48th Fighter Wing at their Lakenheath base in Britain to Incirlik Air Base as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. [22] [39] The Government of Turkey requested these to secure the sovereignty of Turkish airspace because of earlier repeated Russian intrusions into Turkish airspace. [22] [39]

Sukhoi Su-30 multi-role combat aircraft version of the Su-30 fighter aircraft

The Sukhoi Su-30 is a twin-engine, two-seat supermaneuverable fighter aircraft developed by Russia's Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. It is a multirole fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle Air superiority fighter family

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas. Following reviews of proposals, the United States Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas's design in 1967 to meet the service's need for a dedicated air superiority fighter. The Eagle first flew in July 1972, and entered service in 1976. It is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat, with the majority of the kills by the Israeli Air Force.

United States European Command Unified combatant command of the United States Armed Forces responsible for the European region

The United States European Command (EUCOM) is one of ten Unified Combatant Commands of the United States military, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its area of focus covers 21,000,000 square miles (54,000,000 km2) and 51 countries and territories, including Europe, Russia, Greenland, and Israel. The Commander of the United States EUCOM simultaneously serves as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) within NATO—an intergovernmental military alliance. During the Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch, EUCOM controlled the forces flying from Incirlik Air Base.

On 19 November, Russian Ambassador to Turkey  Andrei Karlov  and the Russian military attaché Colonel Andrei Victorovich Dovger were summoned by Turkey. [40] Russia, which was criticised by Turkey for having conducted operations near the Turkish border, a region inhabited by Syrian Turkmen and largely free of ISIL (though al-Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is present in the region), [41] [42] was notified that Turkey's rules of engagement were in place and it would react to any violations of its border security. Turkey also warned Russia that it would not be indifferent to "attacks targeting the life security of Turkmen" in the Bayırbucak area. [43] [44] The preceding week Turkey had called for the UN Security Council to discuss attacks against Turkish-backed Turkmens. [45] Approximately 1,700 people had fled the area in the previous three days due to battles between Syrian government forces and anti-government Syrian Turkmen and al-Nusra Front fighters. [42] Russia has bombed the area near the Turkish border to support Syrian government forces. [45] Syrian Turkmen formed their own armed brigades called Syrian Turkmen Brigades in opposition to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, loosely affiliated with other rebels such as the Free Syrian Army. The Turkmen brigades also cooperate with al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate the al-Nusra Front and with the Salafi coalition known as Ahrar al-Sham. [46] In Latakia the Turkish-supported rebels formed the Jabal al-Turkman Brigade. [46]

The shootdown

Approximate flight paths according to the Turkish and Russian forces. Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown Syrian-Turkey border.svg
Approximate flight paths according to the Turkish and Russian forces.

On 24 November 2015 at 9:24 am, as it was returning to Khmeimim airbase, a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft with tail number 83 was shot down near the Syrian–Turkish border by a AIM-9X Sidewinder missile [47] from a patrolling Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet. [48] [49] The Economist reported that the two Su-24s were on their way to strike Syrian Turkmen targets. [44] Syrian government forces supported by the Shiite militias and the Russian Air Force were fighting against Syrian Turkmen brigades, Army of Conquest and al-Nusra Front fighters. [42]

Early reports from Russian news agencies citing the Russian Defence Ministry, indicated that the aircraft had been downed by a ground-based strike from Syrian Turkmen rebels, [50] but they later confirmed Turkish reports that the aircraft had been shot down by Turkish fighter jets. The Turkish military released a graphic of the Russian aircraft's flight pattern, which shows it crossing the southern tip of Hatay Province before being shot down and crashing near Turkmen Mountain. [51] [52] Russia then countered Turkey's radar trace analysis by publishing a different flight map showing no airspace violation. [53] [54] Three days later, on 27 November, Russia published another map. [55]

According to Turkey's statement to the UN Security Council, two aircraft, whose nationalities were unknown at the time, violated Turkish airspace up to a depth of 2.19 km (1.36 mi) for about 17 seconds. [3] [56] According to Turkish officials, the aircraft were given 10 warnings within the span of 5 minutes, by operators at a ground-controlled interception station, to change their course. [51] Turkey later released the audio recording ("The unknown air traffic position to Humaymim 020 radial 26 miles. This is Turkish Air Force speaking on Guard. You are approaching Turkish airspace, change your heading south immediately"). [57] [58] [59] The Russians claim there were no warnings. [60] [61] Analysts have noted that Turkey's warnings were issued on a dedicated mutually-agreed radio channel, which was the international Guard (emergency) channel (243.0 MHz), but the R-862M radio fitted to the Su-24M is not able to monitor this channel without optional equipment, which may not have been installed. [62] [63] According to Turkey, one aircraft left Turkish national airspace after violating it; the other aircraft was fired upon by Turkish F-16s patrolling the area and crashed into Syrian territory after being hit in Turkish airspace. [3] Based on its heat signature, an anonymous American official stated that the jet was hit in Syrian airspace after a short incursion into Turkey. [64] On 30 November, US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute stated that the data supported the Turkish version of events. [65]

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Su-24 was downed from an altitude of 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) within one kilometre of the Turkish border and in Syrian airspace, while returning to the Khmeimim airbase in Syria. [49] Russia has maintained that the aircraft never left Syrian territory. [48] The Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the aircraft was an Su-24 but said that it had proof the jet was within Syrian airspace. [51] According to the commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Viktor Bondarev, a Turkish F-16 entered Syria's airspace for 40 seconds and flew 2 km (1.2 mi) inside Syrian territory, but the Russian warplane did not violate the Turkish border. [66]

Casualties

Repatriation of Oleg Peshkov's body at Chkalovsky Airport Repatriation of Oleg Peshkov's body at Chkalovsky Airport (6).jpg
Repatriation of Oleg Peshkov's body at Chkalovsky Airport

Both pilots ejected after the aircraft was hit. [51] Initially, the deputy commander of a Turkmen Syrian opposition rebel brigade in Syria, Alparslan Çelik (a Turkish citizen and member of the Grey Wolves ultra-nationalist group [67] [68] [69] ), claimed his forces had shot dead the two pilots as they descended with parachutes, [70] and in a film a person could be heard in the background repeatedly shouting "Stop shooting!" in Turkish as the parachutists descended. [71] A Turkish official reported that he believed both were alive. [72] It was also reported that one of the pilots had been captured by the Turkmen fighters and a video was circulated which allegedly showed the pilot's body. [73]

Russia's military general staff spokesman Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoi confirmed that one pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Anatolyevich Peshkov, was killed by ground fire; [74] [75] the other pilot, who was the navigator, was rescued. [10] [76]

The shooting of an ejecting aircraft pilot is in contravention of Article 42 of the 1977 additional protocol of the Geneva Convention. [77]

The pilot of the Su-24, Oleg Peshkov, 45, was posthumously awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation, the country's highest military honour; the surviving weapon systems officer, Konstantin Murakhtin, and the killed rescuer, Alexander Pozynich, 29, received the Order of Courage. [78] On 2 December Peshkov was buried with full military honours in the Alley of Heroes of the cemetery in Lipetsk with about 10,000 people attending. [79] [80] [81]

Search and rescue

The Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency showed video footage of the aircraft crashing and the two pilots parachuting down. Russian helicopters conducted low-altitude combat search and rescue flights in the area to look for the pilot. [82]

Two Mil Mi-8 helicopters were sent to find and recover the pilots from the crash site. One of the helicopters was damaged by small-arms fire from Syrian Turkmen Brigade militants, resulting in the death of a naval infantryman, and was forced to make an emergency landing. [83] [84] All the surviving crew of the helicopter were later rescued and evacuated. [85] The Free Syrian Army's 1st Coastal Division claimed that they subsequently destroyed the abandoned helicopter using a US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. [86]

As the Russian armed forces began planning an operation to extract the pilot, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani contacted them and proposed a joint rescue operation under his supervision. The rescue team which General Soleimani put forth consisted of eight Hezbollah special forces personnel and 18 Syrian commandos, who were trained by Iran and had firsthand knowledge of the geography of the area, with Russia providing transport, logistical support, air cover and satellite intelligence. One of the pilots, Oleg Peshkov, had been wounded and then killed by rebels after parachuting from the plane, while the other one, Konstantin Murahtin, escaped and was rescued. During the rescue mission, Russian Marine, Alexandr Pozynich, has been fatally wounded. The rescue team returned to base safely and handed over the pilot to the Syrian Army. Vladimir Putin was reportedly closely following the operation. [87] [88] [89] The body of the dead pilot was flown to Turkey and Russian officials in Ankara arranged for its repatriation to Moscow. [90] [91]

Aftermath

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu presents President Putin with the flight data recorder of the Su-24 Shoigu presents Putin the Sukhoi Su-24 flight recorder (closeup).jpg
Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu presents President Putin with the flight data recorder of the Su-24

On 25 November, the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey spoke for an hour by telephone, and both governments stated that day that they would not initiate a war as a result of the incident. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists that his country would "seriously reevaluate" its relationship with Turkey. [92] [93] [94] The Russian Defence Ministry broke off military contacts with the Turkish Armed Forces and Russian defence officials said that future airstrikes in Syria would be escorted by fighters. [95] According to the Russian Minister of Defence Sergey Shoygu, Russia will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Khmeimim airbase in Syria, where the Russian Aerospace Forces group is stationed. [96] [97]

Reactions

Involved parties

A few hours after the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke from Sochi, where he was meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, [98] saying that it was a "stab in the back by terrorist accomplices," [51] [99] that Russia would not put up with attacks like this one [45] and that Russia–Turkey relations would be affected. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was due to visit Turkey the next day, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had scheduled a visit to Russia later in the year. [100] [101] [102] Lavrov cancelled his trip after the incident. [95] Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoi said that forces threatening Russia would be targeted. [103] Protesters pelted the Turkish embassy in Russia with eggs before police cleared the area. [104] On 26 November, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced broad economic sanctions against Turkey that would affect their joint investment projects, [105] including the possible shelving of a multibillion-dollar deal to build Turkish Stream gas pipeline through Turkey. [106] Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said that Turkey would regret its actions. [107] Putin accused Turkey of helping ISIL in the illegal oil trade, saying that funds from the sale of oil were used to support terrorists. [108] The Russian Air Force had recently started bombing the oil tankers en route to other countries, including Turkey, and the infrastructure for processing and storage of crude oil. [109] [110] Putin later claimed that the Turkish shoot-down was an "ambush" that had been prepared in advance. [111] A bill making denial of the Armenian Genocide illegal has been introduced in the Russian State Duma. [112]

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said the shooting would be added to the criminal record of insurgent groups fighting in the country and of those countries that were financing and arming them; he mentioned Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as the strongest such backers. [113]

Erdoğan pointed out that Turkey had the right to defend its airspace. He said worse incidents have not taken place in the past because of Turkey's restraint. He also stressed that Turkey's actions were fully in line with the new rules of engagement adopted after Syria shot down a Turkish jet in 2012. [8] Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu offered condolences and said the Turkish pilots did not know it was a Russian plane. [114] Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu defended the action saying Turkey has the right to defend itself against border violations, but that it did not amount to an aggression against any foreign territory and the country called for NATO to hold an extraordinary meeting later in the day. [115] He further called for working towards solving the crisis in Syria. [113] Davutoğlu also said that attacks on Turkmen could not be legitimised under the justification of attacking ISIL. [92] Turkey's Ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kilic, asked for Turkey's warnings to be taken seriously. [116] Davutoglu said Turkey would cooperate but did not offer an apology. [117] Dozens of protesters were reported outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul demonstrating against Russian military operations in the Turkmen-populated areas of Syria. [113] Russian President Putin issued a decree within hours of Turkey's statement which placed a ban on trade of some goods, forbade extensions of labour contracts for Turks working in Russia as of 1 January 2016, ended chartered flights from Russia to Turkey, disallowed Russian tourism companies from selling holiday packages with a stay in Turkey, and called for ending visa-free travel between Russia and Turkey, while ordering tighter control over Turkish air carriers in Russia, using security as a justification. [118]

Russia started bombarding rebels – including Turkmen insurgents – in Latakia, ignoring demands made by Turkey over the previous week to end its military operations close to the Turkish border. [119] A Turkmen commander said missiles fired from Russian warships in the Mediterranean were also hitting the area. [120] Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that as soon as the pilot was rescued the groups responsible for the attack had been killed by Russian bombing and Syrian government rocket artillery. [121] A Turkish supply convoy, reportedly carrying small arms, machine-guns and ammunition, was bombed by what is believed to have been Russian airstrikes in the northwestern town of Azaz, in north-western Syria. Claimed as an aid convoy by the Turks, no organization has as yet confirmed that the convoy belonged to them. At least seven people died and ten people were injured as around 20 trucks went up in flames. [122] Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency accused Russia of supporting the Kurdish YPG, PYD and Syrian Democratic Forces. [123]

On 25 November – the day after the jet was shot down, a Russian lawmaker, Sergei Mironov, introduced a bill to the Russian parliament that would criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide, [124] a political move that Turkey has strongly opposed when countries like France and Greece adopted similar laws. [125]

On 26 November, Russia deployed the guided missile cruiser Moskva armed with S-300F (SA-N-6 Grumble) long-range SAM missiles positioned off Latakia, off the Syrian coast [15] and S-400 (SA-21 Growler) mobile SAM systems to Khmeimim airbase. [126] The Russian military warned it would shoot down any aerial target that posed a threat to its planes. [127]

On 26 November, the Russian Ministry of Defence broke off contact with the Turkish military. All existing channels of communication between the two sides have been shut down, the ministry said. [128]

On 27 November, Russia announced that it had also suspended its participation in joint Black Sea naval drills indefinitely. The Russian navy's envoy in charge of coordinating the actions of Russia's Black Sea Fleet with the Turkish navy has reportedly been recalled. [128] On 27 November, Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Moscow will halt the existing visa-free regime starting on 1 January, saying that Turkey has become a conduit for terrorists and has been reluctant to share information with Moscow about Russian citizens accused of involvement in terrorist activities. [129] On 28 November, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing economic sanctions against Turkey. The decree, which came into force immediately, banned charter flights from Russia to Turkey, prevented tour firms selling holidays there, and outlawed some Turkish imports, and halted or curbed the economic activities of Turkish firms and nationals. [130] On 2 December, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said in a media briefing with foreign journalists that Turkey was the biggest buyer of "stolen" oil from Syria and Iraq and accused the family of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being directly involved in the trade of petroleum with the Islamic State group. [131] On 3 December, Putin referred to the incident during his annual state of the nation speech. [132]

At his annual press conference in 17 December 2015, when asked about a third-party involvement in the current Russian-Turkish relations deteriorated by the shootdown of Russian Su-24, Vladimir Putin remarked "…if someone in the Turkish government decided to lick the Americans in a certain place, well I don't know then, was that the right decision or not?". [133]

On 23 December, Selahattin Demirtaş, co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), criticized Ankara's stance regarding a Russian jet shot down by Turkey. [134]

On 27 December, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published an interview with Alparslan Çelik who spoke about the downing. TASS reported that the Turkish militant had fought in Syria for two years. The Russian foreign ministry expressed surprise and indignation that a major Turkish newspaper had given floor to the "murderer and terrorist... filled with hatred towards Russia and the Russian people." On 30 December, the Russian foreign ministry called for Ankara to arrest Çelik. [135] [136]

In June 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing sympathy and 'deep condolences' to the family of the victims. An investigation was also reopened into the suspected Turkish military personnel involved in the incident. [137] [138] Russian media interpreted the contents of the letter as an apology for downed aircraft. [139] Three weeks later (in the meantime, there had been a coup d'état attempt against him), Erdoğan announced in an interview that the two Turkish pilots who downed Russian aircraft were arrested on suspicion that they have links to the Gülen movement, and that a court should find out "the truth". [140]

International organizations

Countries

Financial markets

The MICEX and RTS Index, and Borsa Istanbul fell over 1%. The Turkish lira also dropped following news of the shootdown, [171] as did broader European stock markets. [172]

See also

Notes

  1. On 15 October, Turkish jets shot down a drone operating in Turkish airspace. [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] United States defence officials said that the drone was Russian; Russian officials denied that any of their aircraft had been shot down. [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] On 17 October, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey would shoot down any aircraft violating its airspace. [31]

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The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon has served the United States and the air arms of 25 other nations. Over 4,400 F-16s have been sold.

2012 Turkish F-4 Phantom shootdown event in which the Syrian military shot down a Turkish aircraft

On 22 June 2012, a Turkish F-4 Phantom reconnaissance jet was intercepted and shot down by the Syrian Army in international airspace, after having violated Syrian airspace. The jet's pilots were killed; both Turkish and Syrian forces searched for them before recovering their bodies in early July. The incident was part of a series of incidents between Turkey and Syria since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War and greatly escalated the tensions between the two countries.

Syrian–Turkish border clashes during the Syrian Civil War

As Syrian Arab Spring protests turned into an all-out civil war, the 822-kilometre-long (500 mi) Syrian–Turkish border became the scene of minor military clashes between the Turkish army and various factions in the war to the south.

Syrian Turkmen Brigades

Syrian Turkmen Brigades, also called the United Turkmen Army, are an informal armed opposition structure composed of Syrian Turkmen and Turks that form the military wing of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly, primarily fighting against the Syrian Armed Forces, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Syrian Democratic Forces. They are aligned with the Syrian opposition and are heavily supported by Turkey, who provides funding and military training along with artillery and aerial support. The groups represents a wide spectrum of ideologies from Islamism to secular Turkish nationalism.

Spillover of the Syrian Civil War impact of the Syrian Civil War in the Arab world

The spillover of the Syrian Civil War is the impact of the Syrian Civil War in the Arab world. Since the first protests during the Arab Spring, the increasingly violent Syrian Civil War has been both a proxy war for the major Middle Eastern powers, Turkey and Iran, and a potential launching point for a wider regional war. Fears of the latter were realized when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a Salafi Jihadist militant group and alleged former al-Qaeda affiliate, established itself in Syria in 2013, and later combined with the Iraqi Civil War into a single conflict the following year. The spillover of the Syrian Civil War is often dubbed as the Arab Winter.

Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War Involvement Of Turkey In Syrian War

Turkey, which had had a relatively friendly relationship with Syria over the decade prior to the start of the civil unrest in Syria in the spring of 2011, condemned the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad over the violent crackdown on protests in 2011 and later that year joined a number of other countries demanding his resignation. In the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, Turkey trained defectors of the Syrian Army on its territory, and in July 2011, a group of them announced the birth of the Free Syrian Army, under the supervision of Turkish intelligence. In October 2011, Turkey began sheltering the Free Syrian Army, offering the group a safe zone and a base of operations. Together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey has also provided the rebels with arms and other military equipment. Tensions between Syria and Turkey significantly worsened after Syrian forces shot down a Turkish fighter jet in June 2012, and border clashes erupted in October 2012. On 24 August 2016, the Turkish armed forces began a declared direct military intervention into Syria pursuing as targets both ISIL and the Kurdish-aligned forces in Syria.

Turkmen Mountain mountain in Syria

Turkmen Mountain is a mountain range in the north of Latakia region of Syria, in the area called Bayırbucak locally in Turkish, neighboring the Turkish border. The mountain range runs along the eastern length of Latakia Governorate. The area is mostly inhabited by Syrian Turkmen people and has seen military activity by the Syrian Army and Russian air strikes in late 2015. Close to 300,000 Turkmens have been displaced since the start of the Syrian civil war, especially in The Turkmens mountains, where the Government enacted a demographic change by forcing the last remaining Turkmen Families to leave to Turkey, and settled Alawite families in the areas controlled by government forces.

Khmeimim Air Base airbase located south-east of the city of Latakia in Hmeimim, Latakia Governorate, Syria

Khmeimim Air Base, also Hmeimim Air Base is a Syrian airbase currently operated by Russia, located south-east of the city of Latakia in Hmeimim, Latakia Governorate, Syria. The airbase shares some airfield facilities with Bassel Al-Assad International Airport. The legal status of the base is regulated by a treaty Russia and Syria signed in August 2015. At the end of 2017, Russia said it had decided to turn the Khmeimim base into a component of its permanent military contingent stationed in Syria.

Bayırbucak

Bayirbucak is a region in northwestern of Syria that has a long border with Turkey. There is a considerable Syrian Turkmen presence in the area and the region has both strong cultural and historical ties with Turkey and Turks in Turkey.

Russo-Turkish confrontation in Syria

The Turco-Russian confrontation refers to a conflict between Turkey and, initially, the Syrian government which turned into a military crisis between Turkey and Russia after the November 2015 shoot-down of a Russian Air Force Su-24 by the Turkish Air Force after an alleged airspace violation. Increased Russian military aggression and hostile Turkish territorial responses have all contributed to increasing escalation. Aerial confrontations between two nations have grown more common. Turkey accuses Russian Forces of violating Turkish sovereign airspace and war crimes against Syrian Turkmens. The Russian military has accused Turkey of illegal economic ties with ISIS and planning a military intervention in Syria.

Late on 17 September 2018, missile strikes that hit multiple targets in the Syrian government-controlled western Syria were conducted by the Israeli Air Force. The Israel Defense Forces accepted responsibility for the airstrikes the following day and expressed sorrow for the Russian plane, downed by Syria's air defenses. The strikes occurred a few hours after a Russo-Turkish agreement to create a demilitarized zone around Idlib Governorate was achieved, which postponed an imminent offensive operation by Syria′s forces and its allies. Later, a Russian plane was also struck, by a Syrian government S-200 missile.

JaDin shootdown incident Shoot down incident over Syria

The Ja'Din shootdown incident occurred on 18 June 2017, when a United States Navy F/A-18E, shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 Fitter with an AIM-120 AMRAAM missile after it reportedly attacked U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces positions in the town of Ja'Din just South of Tabqah. It would be the first time the US downed a manned aircraft since 1999 and the first with the F/A-18E variant.

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