Updated: Turkey has just shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 near the border with Syria

Nov 24 2015 - 198 Comments

Images coming from Syria show a Su-24 Fencer in flames. And it’s Russian.

On Nov. 24 the Turkish Air Force shot down what appears to be a Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer that, according to the first reports, violated Turkey’s airspace.

It’s unclear whether the aircraft was shot down by a TuAF F-16 (as some media have reported) or by a Turkish Army anti-aircraft battery but, what really matters is that according to Turkish Presidency, the Su-24 shot down in the morning of Nov. 24 belongs to the Russian Air Force contingent in Syria.

The Su-24 Fencer is a swing-wing attack plane operated by both the Syrian Arab Air Force and by the Russian Air Force that has deployed 12 Su-24M2 at Latakia since the end of September.

The Su-24 Fencer is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union and serving, among the others, even with the Iranian and Libyan Air Force.  It’s twin-engined two-seater plane with a variable geometry wing, designed to perform ultra low level strike missions.

If confirmed this was not the first Russian planes breached into the Turkish airspace. On Oct. 3 and 4 a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft violated Ankara’s sovereign airspace in the Hatay region. NATO said that the Russian combat planes entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ “clear, timely and repeated warnings.” In that case, TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace. Nevertheless, as if violating the airspace of a NATO member was not enough, the Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds. According the Russians, the violation was due to a “navigation error.” Following the incident Ankara said it would shot down any aircraft violating their sovereign airspace as done in the past with the Syrian Mig-23 and Mi-17. Last month there were rumors that a Russian plane had been shot down by the Turkish Air Force near the border that proved to be false.

  Update: here’s the radar picture showing both the Su-24 and the F-16 tracks. The violation was quite short (17 seconds). According to the Turkish authorities the Russian plane was issued 10 warnings in 5 minutes before being shot down.   Radar track According to the Russian MoD, no violation occurred at all.

Both pilots ejected. One of them, whose photo has appeared on Social Media, died. Russian Mi-8 helicopter escorted by Mi-24 gunship from Latakia were spotted searching for the aircrew in Syrian territory:

Update: there are reports (still unconfirmed) that rebels shot down one of the rescue choppers. However, according to ACIG editor Tom Cooper the Russian CSAR helo was heavily shot up by insurgent ground fire and limped back to Russian helidrone at Istamo (south of Lattakia). Reportedly, no crewmember was injured.

Actually, the helicopter was destroyed by a TOW when on the ground as this video seems to prove.


Top image credit: Yeni Safak


  • hoss2013
  • disqus_STXkrV9NGc

    If you bothered to read my comment while operating your intelligence capacities the same way you do to glorify Russia, you wouldn’t have made this redundant statement. I’m going to repeat what I said.

    First, Al Nusra IS NOT allied to FSA. Yes, they both fight the government, sometimes (rarely) side by side under truce, but DO NOT like each other. The FSA has blamed Al Nusra of many criminal acts and vice versa. They even occasionally fight each other. Finally, Turkmen fighter are a somewhat independent branch of the FSA.

    Second, Al Nusra is, yes, a radical Islamist organization. It is, yes, considered a terrorist organization by the US and certain other Western countries, but constitutes a minuscule threat to anyone but Assad. It can’t be even remotely be compared to the savagery of IS. It’s like comparing Hitler to Mussolini.

    • rats123

      I don’t glorify anybody. I state facts! You just lie.

      Fact 1 – the Turkmen are allied with Al Nusra. Al Nusra is a terrorist organisation
      Fact 2 – Turkey is supplying terrorists in Syria with weapons and other aid
      Fact 3 – irrespective of whether FSA is allied with Al Nusra or ISIS or however they are all TERRORISTS
      Fact 4 – there is no such thing as a moderate terrorist

      • disqus_STXkrV9NGc

        You keep repeating this “moderate terrorist” thing. I never even alluded to anything like that. The problem here, is that you’re using the Assad and Putin’s definition of terrorists, while I’m using the rest of the world’s.

        I don’t know what constitutes a terrorist for you, but most rebel factions are damn similar in almost every aspect to Russian seperatists in Crimea (which I assume are not terrorists to you).

        Finally, I don’t lie. Look up the Wikipedia page of the Syrian Civil War and read. Some FSA factions cooperate with Al Nusra occasionally, others never do. Those that do maintain a love-hate relationship with them, and the head of the FSA refuses recognition of their association.

        I also think you’re missing the big point here. Regardless of how savage you think al Nusra may be, the real threat to the West is ISIS and ISIS only.

      • disqus_STXkrV9NGc

        Correction: the real threat to anyone outside Syria is ISIS (not limited to the West, as the Metrojet crash indicates).

        I also forgot to mention, as I see it is imperative to mention the obvious, Al Nusra, FSA, the Kurds… Everyone the Putin is bombing is opposed to ISIS. By removing the rebels, Putin is not only helping out Assad, but also ISIS (keep in mind that the vast majority of strikes were against rebels, and that ISIS and Assad are actually on alright terms).

  • disqus_STXkrV9NGc

    Refer to my more detailed explanation.

  • disqus_STXkrV9NGc

    Oh, and not to mention that statistically, FSA and Al Nusra fight ISIS more often than Assad. Recent Russian bombings help explain why ISIS has gained ground in the north, ground that used to be under rebel control. Rebels which the Russians bombed.

  • FoilHatWearer

    Wow, that jet was headed downhill FAST.

  • flires

    Turkey is not Ukraine. Russia needs to respect the border of all countries and in this case Turkey had the capability to protect it.

  • ChrisF

    Probably because they wanted to send a clear message to Russia. Russian aircraft have violated Turkish airspace before, and immediately after an incident in early October, the Russian ambassador was explicitly warned that further unauthorized incursion of Russian aircraft into Turkish airspace could result in military force being used against the aircraft. I agree that it wasn’t wise of Turkey to shoot down the plane, but they certainly offered plenty of warning – over a month – before doing so.

  • nagjon

    Turkey taking the revenge on Russia, whatever it might be, poor people are losing their lives.

  • math

    I don’t know so much about aircrafts but the path described on the radar measures 3km.
    so with my basic math, it would take 13.6sec at 800km/h(?) to cross that distance.. and to fly inside the turkish borders for 5min on the same path, that su-24 should’ve been flying with 36km/h.

    • Ali

      they were flying around already, when they come through our border lane, they didnt change rotation and got shoot

  • OmerAytac

    wow even the aviationist is being trolled by czar lovers.

  • Ali

    They got what they deserve anyway. Dont mess with bull, you’ll get the horn. That simple.

  • Ali Albayrak

    Ukrania prepared a video for Turkish Airforces
    Russia mad at this
    There you go:

  • Crazy bullet

    Putin sings for Erdoğan, what a great love is this…

  • Ali

    Did you all guys know that Russian jets WARNED 400 times by nato in 2014? And 2015’s in just 8 month, NATO warned russian jets 300 times. So this is their sickness and theyre doin that all the time. So they got their lesson anyway i believe. Btw putin lying about turkey buying oil from isis or işid or whatever all those are putin’s lie. Erdoğan said yesterday if they prove this with only one evidence, i’ll leave my job. what if you cant prove this, will go get out of your sit? OFC putin couldnt answer that. stop lying world, poor peoples believe that lies.

  • taximan

    Having checked-out a few NATO airspace maps, very few follow the land border, they are straight lines for the most part; so why is the border between Syria and Turkey being treated as if the land border is the NATO airspace border. I also looked at the Russian violations in the Baltic around Kaliningrad and would say it is near impossible to for Russia to fly there without violation!

  • Alexander Vidales

    Damn, how long until the F-16 gets a kill mark painted on it like the Syrian MiG-23 and Mi-8? Or do they just think it will infuriate Russia?