Pentagon Backs Turkey’s Version of Plane Situation, Blames ‘Incursion’ of Russian Jet
The U.S. military is backing Turkey’s version of events surrounding the Russian jet that was shot down by Turkish aircraft near the Syria-Turkey border on Nov. 24.
Turkey says the fighter jet and another plane were approaching the border from Syria when it gave the pilots 10 warnings in five minutes.
The one aircraft turned away but the jet continued, forcing Turkey to shoot it down, according to the country’s Air Force.
Army Col. Steve Warren, the top military spokesman in Baghdad, confirmed that version of events.
He described what happened to the Washington Times as an “incursion,” and said the command used radars and other data, such as radio chatter, to make a definite conclusion.
“The incident happened at the border,” Col. Warren said. “These things are not as clean as they are in the movies.”
An anonymous U.S. official later told Reuters that the “incursion” likely lasted only a matter of seconds.
The position comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Turkey for shooting down the SU-24, saying it posed no threat and was “obviously” being used to target ISIS militants in the area.
“I understand each country has its own regional interests, and we have always respected that. But we shall never tolerate crimes like today’s one,” the president said.
“Today’s loss is linked with a stab in our back delivered by terrorism accomplices.”
President Barack Obama commented on the situation during a press conference with French President Francois Hollande, saying that Putin appears to be targeting moderate groups more than ISIS, and said America can work with Russia if Putin starts targeting ISIS.
He discouraged “any kind of escalation” in the situation.
Hollande was at the White House to discuss the anti-ISIS mission, and was believed to have urged the U.S. to accept Russia as an ally in the fight.
Col. Warren added that while the U.S. sent F-15C air superiority jets to Turkey to help it patrol and defend its air space, no F-15 was in the vicinity and the U.S. wasn’t involved.
This “purely took place between the Russians and the Turks,” he said.