Turkish jet shot without notice, defecting Syrian colonel says
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
A Syrian rebel soldier looks at a damaged tank during a clash with the military.The Turkish jet recently downed by Syrian forces was shot without warning, a violation of regulations which could not be completed without Damascus’ knowledge, said a colonel from the Syrian Air Forces who was based in Aleppo during the incident before defecting to Turkey two days later.
“We’ve experienced these kinds of faults and border violations with Turkey before, but there was always a warning [given] first until this incident,” the defected colonel, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview yesteday.
The Syrian colonel defected to Turkey with his family where he has been staying in a tent camp in the southern district of Hatay for five days.
Hatay province is sheltering over 33,000 refugees as well as elements of the rebel Free Syrian Army. “What we have witnessed in Syria was not acceptable in the name of humanity, and we also started to feel our lives were under threat. This is why we decided to defect,” the Turkmen-origin, Syrian colonel said.
“While I was in Aleppo we heard that a plane had approached the Syrian border and was shot down into the sea. We had called the area from Aleppo and they said the plane was shot down without any warning,” the colonel said.
The colonel also said this kind of action could not be taken without the knowledge of Damascus. “However, an order to shoot down planes which violate the border might have been given before the incident [occurred],” he said.
According to the colonel, after the incident they heard from air forces that the jet was shot down with a rocket and had fallen into the sea. Turkey’s unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance jet was shot down by Syria while it was flying over the Syrian coastline June 22.