Bodies of Turkish jet crew shot down by Syria found

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The incidents have increased tensions between the two countries.

Ankara . –The bodies of the crew members of a Turkish jet shot down by Syria last month have been found.

Turkey's TRT television said the two airmen were found on the Eastern Mediterranean seabed by a US deep-sea exploration vessel, according to AP.

The F-4 Phantom jet was shot down on 22 June after Syrian authorities claimed it had violated their airspace, a claim disputed by Turkey.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he regretted the incident.

The Turkish military named the crew members as Air Force Captain Gokhan Ertan and Air Force Lieutenant Hasan Huseyin Aksoy, according to Reuters news agency.

The military did not say precisely where the bodies were found and said the wreckage of the plane itself had not yet been spotted, reports AFP.

Turkey's deputy prime minister claimed on 26 June a search-and-rescue aircraft looking for the downed F-4 had also been shot at, although had not been brought down.

The incidents have increased tensions between the two countries.

The Syrians say the plane had penetrated Syrian air space at low level, using an air corridor utilised in the past by the Israeli Air Force. They say it was engaged without using radar and shot down.

Turkey insists that the aircraft was attacked in international air space, though the Turks do accept that the plane - which they say was on a routine training mission - did stray briefly into Syrian air space, but that Turkish controllers alerted the crew and they left.

A subsequent meeting of Nato ambassadors that was given a detailed briefing from the Turks strongly backed Ankara's story. But perhaps surprisingly there was no detailed public presentation of the evidence.

So is there more in this than meets the eye? What was going on and what questions still need to be answered?





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