The Turkish Air Force suspends flights over Syria amid crisis with Russia over Su-24 downing

The Turkish Air Force is no longer supporting the air war on ISIS.

According to  Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, the Turkish Air Force has suspended the missions over Syria of its aircraft supporting the international air campaign against ISIS.

This is the effect of the unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Moscow sparked by the downing of the Russian Su-24 Fencer bomber by a TuAF F-16 after the alleged and controversial violation of the Turkish airspace on Nov. 24.

According to the Turkish authorities, the Su-24 violated Ankara’s airspace (for 17 seconds) and did not respond to 10 warnings in 5 minutes, radioed by a TuAF GCI (Ground Controlled Intercept) station while the aircraft, along with another one of the same type approached the border. Russian authorities deny this report and claim no warning was issued by the Turkish and no violation occurred at all.

Following the incident, the TuAF said that the warnings, on a dedicated mutually agreed radio channel and the international Guard (emergency) channel (243.0/121.5 MHz), were not answered by the Russian plane that continued to fly towards the Turkish airspace, leading the Turkish Air Force to believe the intruding aircraft was not Russian but Syrian.

One of the Su-24 pilots was killed by fire from the ground after successfully ejecting from the plane in flames whereas the second pilot was rescued in a 12-hour-long operation

Actually, according to the Turkish media outlet, the decision was mutual and aimed at preventing the repetition of the incident along the border: on one side, TuAF jets will no longer take part in the air war on Islamic State, on the other one, the Russians will halt their raids near the Syria-Turkey border.

In the meanwhile, Moscow has deployed the S-400 air defense system at Latakia air base as the following video shows.

 

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About David Cenciotti 3632 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.