- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2014

Turkish armed forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet Sunday after it crossed into Turkey’s airspace, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“A Syrian plane violated our airspace,” he told an election rally in northwest Turkey, Reuters reported. “Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard.”

State-run media in Syria condemned what it called an act of “blatant aggression” and said the downed plane was over northern Syria at the time.

It said the pilot had managed to eject before the plane crashed.

The Turkish general staff said one of its control centers detected two Syrian MIG-23s around 1 p.m. and warned them four times about approaching Turkish airspace, Reuters reported.

One plane entered Turkish airspace at Yayladagi, east of the Kasab border crossing. A Turkish F-16 patrolling the area fired a missile at the Syrian jet and it crashed 1200 meters inside Syrian territory, the report said.