ANKARA, October 16. /TASS/. Turkish aviation has downed an unidentified drone that intruded into its airspace, the country’s General Staff said on Friday.
"An unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle was spotted in our airspace today. Despite three issued warnings, the vehicle continued flying. Our planes patrolling the border opened fire and downed it," the General Staff said adding that the measure was in line with Turkey’s reaction plans to trans-border threats.
Defense Ministry official spokesman Gen. Maj. Igor Koneshenkov told journalists on Friday that all Russian aircraft in Syria have returned to the airbase, and drones are operating in the routine mode.
"All planes of the Russian air grouping in the Syrian Arab Republic have returned to the Hmeimim airbase after completing their combat missions. Russian unmanned aerial vehicles conducting monitoring and aerial reconnaissance on the territory of Syria, are operating in routine mode," Konashenkov said.
Russia launched an air operation against terrorists in Syria on September 30 at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian Aerospace Force’s aviation grouping comprises over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including the newest Sukhoi Su-34 warplanes, Su-30SM fighter jets, modernized Su-24M bombers and Su-25SM attack aircraft, as well as the Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. The Russian Navy has also delivered strikes from the Caspian Sea on the night to October 7 against militants’ objectives in Syria, using Kalibr long-range cruise missiles.
On Thursday, October 15, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Kemal Aydin said that Russian and Turkish aircraft have come within close reach 13 times on October 3-10. He added that Russian aircraft violated Turkish airspace twice over this period of time.
On October 3, Russian Su-30 fighter jet mistakenly entered Turkish airspace. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the incident occurred due to bad weather conditions. Turkey’s General Staff also reported that Russian MiG-29 violated the country’s airspace on October 4. Russia noted that there are no fighter jets of this type at the Hmeimim airbase where the unit of Russian Aerospace Defense Forces is stationed.