MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. U.S. does not have detailed information on the incident between Turkey’s F-16 and Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24, the US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with the Vesti on Saturday television programme.
"What happened with respect to the Turkish airplanes and the Russian airplanes? We don’t know the details of that," he said. "We have some indications of it from our radar, we have some sense of what happened, but I think there’s a formal process going on and exchange of information, and I don’t want to comment on the conclusions"
The Russian Su-24M all-weather bomber (NATO reporting name: Fencer) was on anti-terrorism mission in Syria on Tuesday morning, when it was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet. Ankara claims it downed the Russian warplane after it had violated Turkey’s airspace, while the Russian Defence Ministry says the bomber was in the airspace over Syria at the time of the attack.
Following the incident with the downing of the Su-24M bomber on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the attack on the combat aircraft would entail "serious consequences" for the Russian-Turkish relations.
According to the Russian president, the Turkish Air Force attack on the Russian plane, which was on the anti-terrorism mission in Syria and posed no threat to Turkey, was "a stab in the back" of Russia.
The flight recorder of the Su-24M bomber was unsealed on Friday in the presence of foreign experts. The procedure took about an hour. The memory module of the recorder turned out to be damaged. Experts promised to present first results of data decoding by December 21.
In Syria, Russia and the US have common objectives, but the Assad problem is to be settled, John Kerry said.
"So if you want to stop the war in Syria, and we do, if you want to fight Daesh and stop the growth of terrorism, you have to deal with the problem of Assad," he said. "Now, that doesn’t mean you want to change every aspect of the government; we don’t. We want the institutions of government, we want Syria to stay whole, and so does Russia."
"So Russia and the United States are actually united with Iran through the Vienna process in the same approach to a political settlement in which Syrians can choose the future of Syria," Kerry said. "We want the same thing.".