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Turkey Downed Russian Jet to Increase Moscow-NATO Tensions - NGO

© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov / Go to the photo bankRussian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber takes off from Hmeymim Air Base in the Latakia province, Syria.
Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber takes off from Hmeymim Air Base in the Latakia province, Syria. - Sputnik International
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Turkey's downing of a Russian jet was a clear provocation designed to increase tensions between Moscow and NATO, a representative of the US pressure group United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) told Sputnik.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — UNAC Co-Coordinator Joe Lombardo said:

"It is clear that Turkey’s downing of the Russian Su-24 is a provocation, designed to increase tension between Russia and NATO."

According to Lombardo, Turkey, a NATO member, did not receive approval from the military bloc or the United States prior to downing the aircraft.

"Although [US] President [Barack] Obama said that he hopes for a de-escalation of tensions, he also made the point that Turkey had the right to defend its airspace. Therefore, he agrees that Turkey was right to shoot down the plane," he noted.

"However, it is only Russia that has been invited into Syria, not the US, Turkey or NATO," Lombardo observed.

On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 was downed by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet over Syrian territory, falling 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Turkish border.

A Turkish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 - Sputnik International
Ankara Suspends Air Force Flights Over Syria After Attack on Su-24 - Media
Ankara claimed that it downed the Russian airplane because it violated Turkish airspace. Both the Russian General Staff and the Syrian Air Defense Command confirmed that the Su-24 never crossed into Turkish airspace and was shot down over Syrian territory.

Russia has been carrying out an aerial campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria since late September at the request of Damascus. A US-led international coalition, including Turkey, has also been launching airstrikes against extremists in Syria, without the approval of the Syrian authority or the United Nations.

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