Al Arabiya claims 'nonsense': Russian official
Handout from Turkish Armed ForcesRussian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukasevich has said the recent claims by Saudi channel Al Arabiya regarding the death of the Turkish pilots in the downed jet are "nonsense," according to the Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom.
"It is disappointing that I even have to comment on such nonsense, but it appears that I must," Lukasevich said. As well as from Russia, the Al Arabiya report cited Iran, Hezbollah, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Mr. Bassam, a Syrian brigadier general.
Lukasevich branded the claims "dangerous fantasies," saying the world was now "accustomed to blatant and artless lies about the situation in Syria" that were "spread by some Arab media."
Al Arabiya news channel had said it had been handed a top-secret Syrian government document by the opposition, purporting to show that Damascus had initially ordered the interrogation of the two pilots, Air Force Cpt. Gökhan Ertan and Air Force Lt. Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy, before ordering their “elimination” on the basis of “guidance from the Russian leadership.”
The pilots' plane was downed on June 22. Turkey has long said Syria shot the jet down in international waters, while Syria has claimed it shot the plane about 100 meters off its shore with an anti-aircraft gun.