The Turkish Air Force raised six F-16 fighters in alarm in response to the fact that Syrian military helicopters approached the Turkish border three times on Monday, the country's command said. At the same time, helicopters did not violate Turkish airspace - the minimum distance they approached the border with the Turkish province of Hatay was 3-4 kilometers.
Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made threats against Syria after the Turkish fighter was shot down by Syrian air defense 22 June. He warned that any provocation from the Syrian side will be considered as a military threat, and that the Turkish military will respond to them.
Meanwhile, a military-diplomatic source in Moscow told Interfax on Monday that Russia has objective data, according to which this F-4 Phantom fighter violated Syria’s airspace.
"We have information about the exact location of the Turkish Air Force aircraft - until it was hit by Syria’s air defense," a source said. According to him, "these data unequivocally confirm the fact that the plane violated the airspace of Syria."
The source stressed that "Russia has its own interests in Syria." "And, naturally, we are monitoring the situation through various channels," the agency’s source said. He did not specify what the channels were, noting, however, that "the capabilities of the Aerospace Defense Forces and the Russian Navy allow us to monitor and analyze this kind of information."
On Saturday, at a press conference in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia has its own data on the incident with the Turkish aircraft shot down by Syria, and Moscow is ready to share them.
At the same time, he stressed that Turkey and Syria themselves should do the main work of investigating and formulating conclusions. The minister recalled that Russia strongly supported the idea of investigating this incident. “The main thing now is to prevent the use of this incident for pumping in one direction or another,” Lavrov stressed.
The Turkish F-4 fighter flew from the Malatya airbase in eastern Turkey. Ankara claims that it was not on board weapons. She also acknowledged the fact of a short-term violation of the airspace of Syria by this aircraft.
According to Western media, a number of Phantoms in the Turkish Air Force (aircraft of this type were used by the United States during the Vietnam War) were modernized at the enterprises of the Israeli company IAI, where modern navigation and intelligence equipment was installed on them.
According to unofficial data, the plane was shot down by the newest short-range anti-aircraft missile-cannon complex "Pantsir-S1", supplied earlier by Russia to Syria.