Turkish Military Shoots Down Apparent Russian Drone Near Syria: Officials

An unarmed drone that appears to be Russian was shot down by Turkish forces near the Syrian border on Friday, U.S. defense and military officials said.

The drone was flying a mile inside Turkish territory, the officials said. The Associated Press cited the Turkish military saying the drone was shot down after it ignored three warnings to leave.

The U.S. officials told NBC News the unmanned aircraft was an exact match for similar models shot down and recovered in Ukraine over the past year.

The Russians claim all their aircraft and drones have returned safely from Friday flight missions over Syria.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this month that repeated violations of Turkish airspace by Russian jets were "unacceptable" and appeared to be deliberate.

Russian jets have begun airstrikes in Syria, which neighbors Turkey to the south, in support of the country's President Bashar Assad. It says it is targeting ISIS. But Western countries that are also bombing the Islamist extremists, including the U.S., have claimed Moscow has been bombing more moderate rebels.