On Jun. 23 Syrian news agency SANA has published the following statement issued by a Syrian military spokesman, which provides the version of Damascus about the mysterious downing of a Turkish F-4 Phantom off the Syrian coast on Jun. 22.
At 11:40 AM on 22/6/2012, an unidentified aerial target violated Syrian airspace, coming from the west at a very low altitude and at high speed over territorial waters, so the Syrian anti-air defenses counteracted with anti-aircraft artillery, hitting it directly as it was 1 kilometer away from land, causing it to crash into Syrian territorial waters west of Om al-Tuyour village in Lattakia province, 10 kilometers from the beach.
Noteworthy, an image showing the actual route flown by the downed aircraft was released.
This is much interesting because, if genuine, it shows that the F-4 was circling off the Syrian coast before it headed towards the coast at low altitude and it was downed by the Anti-Aircraft Artillery fire.
As suggested by some readers, the RF-4E was probably carrying an Elbit’s LOROP reconnaissance system that gives the aircraft the ability to gather hi-rez imagery in both visible and IR spectrums at ranges up to 100 km from the target.
Image credit: SANA news agency