Turkish court acquits Syrian pilot over spy charges
The pilot had already been released and handed over to the Syrian authorities in October 2017.
The 58-year-old colonel was judged in absentia and acquitted by a court in the southern province of Hatay, Demirören News Agency has reported.
He had been accused of “spying” and “attempting to destroy military installations” and was facing up to 12 years in prison.
He was captured after his plane crashed in a Turkish region near the Syrian border in March 2017. He had managed to eject from the plane and was arrested by Turkish authorities.
According to Ankara, the pilot stated during his interrogation that his plane crashed after being hit by fire in northern Syria. But Syrian official agency Sana said the crash was due to a technical problem.
Turkey and Russia have improved their cooperation on Syria. They are sponsoring an agreement on a demilitarized zone in Idlib province.
Syria’s civil war was triggered by the Assad regime’s bloody repression of peaceful protests, but spiraled into a complex conflict.