Turkey Downs Drone Near Syria Border

Turkey Downs Drone Near Syria BorderTurkey Downs Drone Near Syria Border

Turkey shot down a drone on Friday in an incident highlighting the dangers of the multiple air combat operations over Syria.

The army offensive south of the city further expands its 10-day-old counter-attack in western Syria against militants battling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The army campaign has been coordinated with Russian jets, which launched airstrikes in support of Assad on Sept. 30, and Syria’s own air force.

A US-led coalition of western and Arab forces has been flying combat missions over Syria for more than a year, while Israeli jets have also struck targets in Syria during the four-year-old conflict.

That has left Syria’s airspace crowded with warplanes from rival or even hostile powers, pursuing competing military strategies, heightening the risk of aerial confrontation.

Turkey’s military said its jets shot down an unidentified drone in Turkish air space near Syria on Friday. A US official said Washington believed it was of Russian origin, but the Russian defense ministry said all of its planes in Syria had safely returned to base and that all its drones were operating “as planned”.

The Turkish military said the aircraft which was shot down had continued on its trajectory despite three warnings, in line with Turkey’s rules of engagement. Broadcaster NTV said it had come 3 km into Turkish air space.