Turkey downs drone on Syria border

Turkey's air force downs unidentified drone which breached Turkish air space six times.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff,

Tanks and Helicopters - Turkish Army
Tanks and Helicopters - Turkish Army

Turkey's air force on Sunday downed an unidentified drone on the Syrian border after it breached Turkish air space six times, the defense ministry said, according to AFP.

"An unmanned aerial vehicle which violated our air space six times (on Saturday)... was downed by two of our F-16s which took off from Incirlik" air base in southern Turkey, the ministry said, sharing pictures of the downed drone.

The ministry said it was not known who the drone belonged to but said it was grounded at 1:24 p.m. (1024 GMT) local time.

"The wreck of the drone was found at the Cildiroba base" by the Turkish gendarmerie in the Kilis province near the Syrian border, the ministry said.

The Turkish air force shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft in the Turkey-Syria border area in 2015, sparking a crisis in the two countries' relations.

Russia issued vast sanctions on Turkey, dealing the country serious financial damage, in the wake of the downing of the aircraft.

However, Ankara and Moscow have been working closely since a 2016 reconciliation deal which ended the crisis.

Turkey backs rebels seeking the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad while Moscow is one of the few remaining allies of the regime in Damascus.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said they would coordinate their actions more closely in Syria.

The Turkish military conducted two offensives in northern Syria against the Islamic State (ISIS) and Kurdish militia forces in 2016 and 2018.

The two NATO allies, Turkey and the United States, reached a deal last month to establish a safe zone between the Turkish border and Syrian areas east of the Euphrates river controlled by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

The United States views the YPG as a close ally in the fight against ISIS, but Turkey argues that the YPG is a terrorist militia linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to launch a cross-border offensive against the YPG if the plans to realize a safe zone with Washington fail by the end of this month.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)