Pilot of crashed Syrian jet found, taken to hospital in Turkey's south

Pilot of crashed Syrian jet found, taken to hospital in Turkey's south

ANKARA
Pilot of crashed Syrian jet found, taken to hospital in Turkeys south

The pilot of a Syrian military jet that crashed near the Turkish-Syrian border on March 4 has been found in the southern province of Hatay and taken to the Hatay State Hospital.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on March 4 said a Syrian military jet has crashed near the Turkish-Syrian border.

“There is information that a MiG modeled plane estimated to be belonging to the Syrian regime crashed in the [southern province of] Hatay, Samandağ, Yaylacık region. There is information that the pilot jumped from the plane. Our units there are helping the search efforts,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on March 4. 

Asked whether the plane had fallen in Turkish territory, Yıldırım said this was not yet clear.

“It could be on our side of the border or on the Syrian side. That will become clear after the examinations. There is also no clarity yet on the reason why it crashed, but there are reports that weather conditions were rather unfavorable,” he added. 

Hatay Governor Erdal Ata said gendarmerie and medical teams had reached the wreckage of the plane.

“According to information I received a short while ago, gendarmerie and medical teams have reached the wreckage of the plane. It was seen that the cockpit of the plane was empty. We think the pilots survived by evacuating,” Anadolu Agency reported Ata as saying. 

“We think the plane doesn’t belong to us, but to the Syrian side. The findings show that,” Ata said, adding that they had confirmed information that there were no aviation activities of Turkish civil aviators or the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the region.

“According to information received from the citizens, the pilots jumped with parachutes. We are investigating this. Our police, gendarmerie and [Turkey’s disaster agency] AFAD are carrying out search and rescue efforts in the region where the pilots probably jumped,” he said. 

“This has nothing to do with border violations. We don’t know whether it’s a technical malfunction or another incident that took place on the other side. An intervention against the plane from our side is out of question. We don’t know whether it crashed technically or was shot,” Ata added. 

Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli commented on the process of giving back the pilot of the Syrian military jet that crashed near the Turkish-Syrian border on March 4, stating that the decision for his return would be made in the coming days.

“The pilot is under treatment now. A decision will be made after the incident becomes clear, but now the incident is still very new. A decision will be made in the coming days after some aspects such as the purpose, duty and scope of flight, and how the pilot descended are revealed,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham told Anadolu Agency by phone that it had downed a jet belonging to the Syrian government, which was bombing rural Idlib.

“The regime plane was flying low when it was bombing rural Idlib. We hit it with a 23-milimeter anti-aircraft weapon. When it was struck, a technical malfunction occured in the plane. Then it was seen that it started falling,” Ahrar al-Sham spokesperson Ahmed Karaali said on March 4.