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    Russian Su-24 Jet Downed Over Syria (276)

    The downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkey was a planned provocation endorsed beforehand by Washington, experts told Sputnik.

    SU-24 bomber
    © Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) —  On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 aircraft crashed in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plane 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. Putin described the Turkish attack as a "stab in the back" carried out by "accomplices of terrorists."

    Ankara claimed it downed the Russian plane because it had violated Turkish airspace. Both the Russian General Staff and the Syrian Air Defense Command confirmed that the Su-24 was downed in Syrian airspace and never crossed into Turkey, in accordance with precise objective control data.

    According to Mohammad Mujahid Zayat, the former proxy of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, the Turkish decision to shoot down the plane was taken to heighten overall tensions in the region where several trends undesired by Ankara are gathering momentum.

    "Turkey fears rapprochement between Russia and Iran, creating a kind of coalition of the two countries, not only in regard to the Syrian crisis, but also at the level of regional policy as a whole," he said, adding that the incident coincided with a visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Iran.

    The former official pointed out that the incident was designed by Turkey to make it clear to NATO that they should oppose Russian-French rapprochement on countering terrorism in Syrian and a fight against Islamic State "that does not correspond to the interests of the United States and Turkey."

    Zayat believes that Ankara conferred with Washington prior to carrying out this provocation.

    "The fact that Turkey immediately began consultations with NATO rather then turning to Russia, bringing apologies or explanations, proves it," he said.

    Egyptian political analyst Nabil Haitham agrees that the "Turkish decision could not be taken without the support of NATO, especially of the United States."

    He added that Turkey has two reasons to shoot down a Russian aircraft: "to deliver a moral blow to Russia," and "to lure the Russians into a trap that would distract them from the fight against terrorism, preventing the Middle East from achieving the balance of power."

    "I believe that it [the Turkish provocation] resulted in a failure, since the developments that took place after the incident does not indicate that Russia was trapped, the other way around," Haitham said, adding that Moscow established the rules of military conduct with the Turkish side and its allies rather than mirroring the provocation.

    Haitham also suggested that Turkey had begun a dangerous fight with Russia, and may pay "a high price" for the incident.

    Both experts think that the incident with the Russian aircraft will lead to a serious cooling in relations between the two countries.

    Russian Su-24 Jet Downed Over Syria (276)


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    NATO, plane, crash, Su-24, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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