A Turkish Air Force F-16C Block40TM shot down on Tuesday morning at 09.24 local time a twin-engine, two-seater Su-24M bomber of the Russian Air Force Detachment in Syria in a short distance from the northwest Turkish-Syrian borders.
The Russian aircraft was bombing with another Su-24M Turkmen rebels positions in the Bayir Bucak area within Syrian territory close to the borders with Turkey.
According to the Turkish government statement in the UN Security Council, the two Russian Su-24M violated the Turkish national airspace to a depth of 1.36 miles (2.51km) and 1.15 miles (2.13 km) in length for about 17 seconds. The Su-24M’s received 10 warnings from the Turkish radars within 5 minutes to change their course, but did not reply.
The Russian bombers left the Turkish air space and continued flying in a close distance from the borderline within Syrian air space. One of the Su-24M made a close round in order to approach the ground target which is located very close to the borders one more time
Several miles away two Turkish Air Force F-16C Block40TM fighter jets of the 182th Filo were flying on a Close Air Patrol mission, supported by one Turkish E-7T AWACS.
One of the Turkish F-16C Block40TM, received orders to shoot down one of the two Russian Su-24M bombers with a AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM air to air missile, from a distance of 50km.
The Russian bomber was hit by the missile and crashed close to the villages of Yamadi and Zaytonah, located within the area that the Turkmen rebels control.
According to the Russians, the aircraft was flying at 6,000 meters altitude and about 1 km from the Turkish-Syrian borders.
Ankara said it was rightfully acting to defend sovereignty of Turkey as the Su-24M had violated its airspace and had not responded to warnings.
The Su-24M with c/n 0715323 from the 6980th Guards Air Base at Shagol-Chelyabinsk, crashed 3.5 km from the Turkish-Syrian borders in the Mount Turkman region of Northeastern Latakia Province
The two pilots successfully ejected from the Su-24M using their Zvezda K-36D ejection seats. According to the deputy commander of the local Turkmen Brigade, Alpaslan Celik one of them was killed from his forces, while he was descending with his parachute.
Soon after the aircraft was shot down, Russian Air Force sent a CSAR team to the crash site, consisted of Mi-8 AMTSh helicopters and Mi-24P attack helicopters.
One of the Mi-8 AMTSh helicopters carrying ten men had to do an emergency landing in Al-Kawm region, close to the city of Salma, an area controlled by the rebels. The helicopter was heavily shot up by insurgent ground fire.
During the emergency landing of the Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter, one Russian Commando was killed, but the rest of the passengers and the crew were safely returned to Latakia.
Several hours later, FSA forces destroyed the abandoned helicopter with a BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile.
The loss of the Su-24M did not stop the operations of the Russian Air Force in Syria. More Russian aircraft continued bombing Turkmen targets at the Jebel al-Turkman area, the region where the Su-24M was shot down.
Although the shooting down of a Russian aircraft from a Turkish F-16C Block40TM took everybody by surprise, Ankara had already shown its intention to Moscow.
Last Friday (20th of November) the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had summoned the Russian ambassador to protest about the “intensive” Russian bombing of Turkmen villages areas “very close” to the Turkish border, which the Turkish Ministry said in a separate statement that “could lead to serious consequences”.
Despite the Turkish warning and the loss of the aircraft, the Russian Air Force is going to continue its strike operations in Syria against Islamic rebel forces and according to the Russian Defense Ministry all sorties in Syria will be covered by Su-30SM air superiority fighter jets.
Image Sourced: Proto Thema