Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
04:11 PM Beirut time
23 °C
Blom Index
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
U.S. intelligence sheds new light on downed Turkish warplane
A Turkish Air Force F-4 war plane fires during a military exercise in Izmir, in this May 26, 2010 file photo.  REUTERS/ Osman Orsal/Files
A Turkish Air Force F-4 war plane fires during a military exercise in Izmir, in this May 26, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/ Osman Orsal/Files
A+ A-

BEIRUT: U.S. intelligence indicates a Turkish warplane shot down by Syrian forces was most likely hit while in Syrian airspace, lending validation to Damascus' account and putting it at odds with Ankara's, the Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend.

According to AFP, Turkey's military reiterated Sunday that the jet fighter was in international airspace, and not inside Syria, as claimed in the newspaper report.

In its report Saturday, the Wall Street Journal said U.S. intelligence provided by American officials who spoke to the paper stated that the plane was likely taken down by shore-based antiaircraft guns.

Damascus said the plane was shot down by an antiaircraft battery with an effective range of about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles).

The senior U.S. defense official who spoke to the American daily cautioned that much remains unknown about the incident, while a Turkish official said he was unaware of American doubts and maintained the Ankara’s position that a Syrian missile downed the plane in international airspace.

The downing of the warplane has increased tension in the region and led NATO to condemn the Syrian government's actions.

U.S. officials said antiaircraft fire would signify that the Turkish plane was flying low to the ground and slowly, though Syria said the jet was flying at around 770 kilometers an hour (480 miles an hour).

The plane's pilots are still missing and the U.S. officials said they believe the pilots perished.

According to the Wall Street Journal, some current and former U.S. officials have the belief that Turkey is testing Syria. The F-4 Phantom that was shot down by Syria typically carries surveillance equipment, though Turkey denies it was on a surveillance mission.

"You think that the airplane was there by mistake?" one former U.S. official said.

"These countries are all testing how fast they get picked up and how fast someone responds," a senior U.S. official told the paper.

"It’s part of training," the official added.

One U.S. military official said that the fact antiaircraft fire was used means a local commander on his own initiative decided to fire at the warplane as opposed to if the plane had been hit by a missile which would have indicated that Damascus had authorized the decision.

The Turkish army reiterated Sunday Anakar's earlier claims that one of its warplanes was brought down over international waters.

The Turkish F-4 Phantom "was downed over the eastern Mediterranean in international airspace ... while it was flying solo and unarmed, and testing our existing radars' performance in the region," the army's general staff said in a statement posted on its website, reported AFP.

The Turkish army statement said the jet had violated Syrian airspace for "about five minutes."

Ankara has said that the jet was too far from Syrian territory to have been shot at by an antiaircraft gun.

Home Middle East
warplane / Lebanon

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Baabda 2014
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
The presidential chess game has begun
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
China moves to the scary side of its boom
View all view all
Click to View Articles
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS