Turkey have shot down a drone on their border with Syria. The nationality of the drone is currently unconfirmed.
It has been announced that the Turkish military have shot down an unidentified aircraft after issuing three warnings in line with the Nato member’s rules of engagement. Local media report the drone was shot down around 3km inside Turkish airspace.
Media reports quote officials as saying the aircraft was a drone. However there are no further details so far as to who the drone belonged to, this article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
The drone has been reported to resemble the Orlan family of drone aircraft, an unmanned aerial vehicle family produced for the Russian government at the Special Technological Centre of Saint Petersburg. An Orlan-10 was reported by Ukrainian officials to have been shot down in Ukraine in 2014.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Russian aircraft operating in Syria, including drones, have safely returned to their base.
This comes not long after Turkey had informed Nato at the start of the month that a Russian aircraft entered their airspace. Moscow had responded to the incursion stating it was a “navigational error” and that they had “clarified” their position to the Turkish government.
Nato Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg also denounced the action as “unacceptable” and claimed that “Russia’s actions are not contributing to the security and stability of the region”. Another unidentified plane reportedly “harassed” Turkish F-16’s patrolling the country’s southern border.
Russia has carried out over 150 air strikes in aid of the Assad regime since the beginning of October, a move criticised by Ankara as a “grave mistake”. Although Russian air strikes are intended to be targeting ISIL, it has been noted that the majority of targets are in rebel held areas of Syria with “little or no” Islamic State presence.
Turkey operates a relatively modern fighter force of around 230 F-16 aircraft and is the world’s third largest operator of the F-16, following the US and Israel. All Turkish F-16s are built by Turkish Aerospace Industries and 165 of the type F-16 are to be upgraded to F-16 Block 50+ standard by Turkey.
More on this as it develops.