The Turkish RF-4E shot down by Syria on Jun. 22, was probably gunned by a shore-based anti-aircraft artillery battery while it was flying inside the Syrian airspace.
Therefore, the U.S. version of the episode is in tune with the Syrian account (at least for what deals with the position of the aircraft when it was hit) of the mishap, rather than the Turkish one.
This is what the U.S. intelligence/defense sources indicated to the Wall Street Journal that, in an article published on Jun. 29, also confirmed The Aviationist’s early hypothesis that the Turkish Phantom was flying a mission aimed at probing Damascus air defenses.
Although how the American officials have gathered specific details about the position of the plane remains a sort-of mystery (an ISR – Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance – and/or an AEW – Airborne Early Warning platform spying Syrian activities might have recorded something) such embarrassing discrepancies emerge while Ankara amasses rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along its border with Syria as a reaction to the downing of its fighter jet (whose crew members have not been recovered yet).
Image credit: Turkish Air Force
- Turkish Phantom shot down by Syria saga continues as new details about the mysterious shooting emerge (theaviationist.com)
- Turkish Phantom shot down in Syria update: it may have violated the Syrian airspace to probe the air defenses readiness (theaviationist.com)
- “Turkish Phantom shot down because Syrian soldiers may have confused it for an Israeli plane” Syrian Information Minister says (theaviationist.com)