Turkey Shoots Down Drone, but Whose Is It?

Russia denies ownership of drone, which Turkey says ignored warnings
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2015 10:22 AM CDT
Turkey Shoots Down Drone, but Whose Is It?
   (Alexei Nikolsky)

Turkish jets shot down an unidentified drone that flew into Turkey's airspace at the border with Syria Friday. The drone was shot down after it ignored three warnings to leave, the Turkish military said, but didn't specify how it had relayed the warnings to the operators of the drone. "We have not been able to establish who the drone belongs to, but we are able to work on it because it fell (about two miles) inside Turkish territory," Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu said. The United States, Russia, and the Syrian government all operate drones in the region. Russia has strongly denied ownership of the drone. "I state with absolute responsibility that all our drones are either performing tasks or staying at the base," a Russian military official said.

There was no immediate comment on the drone by the US Embassy in Ankara. Since 2013, Turkey has shot down a Syrian military jet, a helicopter, and an unmanned surveillance drone that strayed into Turkish airspace. The incidents occurred after Ankara changed its rules of engagement following the downing of a Turkish fighter jet by Syria. Turkey has also reported numerous incidents of harassment of its F-16 jets patrolling the Syrian border by Syrian fighter planes or Syria-based surface-to-air missile systems locking radar on them. Meanwhile, Syrian troops backed by Iranian and Hezbollah fighters on the ground and Russian planes in the air pressed ahead with an assault against rebels in central Syria and launched another offensive in the northern province of Aleppo Friday. (Read more Turkey stories.)

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