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Turkey F-16s Intercept Russia Warplane After Airspace Violation

by Alastair Jamieson /

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A Russian warplane “violated” Turkish airspace near the Syrian border and was intercepted by two F-16 jets, officials said Monday amid international concern at the risks of parallel military action in the conflict.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Moscow's ambassador to protest Saturday’s incident, according to a statement. Officials in Ankara also spoke with counterparts in Washington about the incident.

Turkey urged Russia to avoid repeating such a violation, or it would be held "responsible for any undesired incident that may occur."

Russia began airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, with President Vladimir Putin saying he is targeting ISIS, but at least some of the strikes appear to have hit Western-backed rebel factions.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the strikes, saying it's "absolutely clear" that Russia is not discriminating between ISIS and the groups opposing Assad.

"As a result they're actually backing the butcher Assad and helping him and really making the situation worse," Cameron said.

The Russian jet left Turkish airspace and returned to Syria after it was intercepted by two F-16s from the Turkish air force, which were conducting patrols in the region, the foreign ministry statement said.

Image: Frame grab shows technicians servicing a Russian military jet in Syria
A frame grab taken from footage released October 1 shows technicians servicing a Russian military jet in Syria.REUTERS TV / Reuters

It added that Ankara has "strongly protested this violation, demanded that any such violation not be repeated and affirmed that, otherwise, the Russian Federation will be responsible for any undesired incident that may occur.”

Turkey’s foreign minister called Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov "to reiterate the views stated above and express our reaction,” the statement continued.

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