Whereas the news spread that Syria may have relocated some of its warplanes in Iran, to save them from an eventual U.S. attack, on Oct. 6, the Turkish General Staff made a press announcement about the increased activity by the Syrian Arab Air Force close to the border with Turkey on Oct. 5.
According to the Turkish authorities
Two Turkish F-16’s took off from Diyarbakr 8 AJU at 07.50LT on Oct. 5 and established a Combat Air Patrol around Gaziantep – Hatay region. During their mission:
a) A SyAAF Su-24 Fencer approached south of Oncupinar, Kilis, followed by the CAP package to be directed towards it. The Fencer broke off its course 5.6 nautical miles (NM) to the border.
b) A SyAAF Su-24 (it is unclear whether this was the same) approached Cilvegozu, Hatay province. The same package directed to intercept it, which broke off course 8.6 NM from border.
c) A SyAAF Su-24 (still unclear whether this was the same) flew close to Oncupinar. The F-16s flew to the area and the Fencer withdrew 10nm from the border.
The CAP package completed its mission on 11.59 LT.
The second flight of 2 F-16s, which took off from Incirlik 10 AJU, started CAP around Gaziantep – Hatay from 11.24LT.
A SyAAF Mi-17 Hip (hence, the same of type of helicopter shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 last month) approached Karbeyaz, Hatay. The CAP package were directed there and the Mi-17 broke off course 4nm from the border.
The patrol flight completed CAP at 15.25LT.
The next flight of 2 F-16s took off from Incirlik and conducted CAP at the same region between 15.03 and 19.20LT, without any incident.
Noteworthy, the Su-24 Fencer attack plane seems to be Damascus’s asset of choice to perform this kind of actions: few weeks ago Assad launched some Fencers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea allegedly to probe Cyprus air defenses.
Image credit: TuAF
H/T to Arda Mevlutoglu for translating on the ACIG forum the Turkish press release