MOSCOW/ANKARA/DAMASCUS – Russian taskforce’s command cannot guarantee the safety of Turkish aircraft’s flights over Syria, Oleg Zhuravlev, the Chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Sunday. According to Zhuravlev, the Syrian government was forced to declare the closure of airspace over Syria’s Idlib province, TASS reported.
“In such conditions, the command of the Russian taskforce cannot guarantee the safety of flights by Turkish planes over Syria,” he stressed.
A source in the Syrian Defense Ministry stated earlier on Sunday that Turkish F-16 fighter jets had downed two Syrian warplanes over the Idlib de-escalation zone. The source also added that Syrian air defenses had destroyed six Turkish drones. The combat drones have been destroyed while trying to provide air support to the terrorists, a source in the Syrian Defense Ministry said.
“On March 1, 2020, Syrian air defense systems destroyed six combat unmanned aerial vehicles of the Turkish army over the Idlib de-escalation zone,” the source stated, according to TASS.
According to the source, the drones were delivering strikes on the positions of the Syrian government army to provide backing to terrorist groups. He also added that Turkish F-16 fighter jets downed two warplanes of the Syrian Air Forces over the Idlib de-escalation zone, also in support of terrorists.
“Turkish F-16 intruded Syria’s airspace two times. They attacked and downed two planes of the Syrian Air Forces over the Idlib de-escalation zone. The pilots managed to eject themselves,” the source said, adding that now they are in safety.
The source recalled that airspace over the Idlib de-escalation zone had been closed from March 1, 2020. Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said on Sunday that two Syrian Su-24 fighter jets had been downed over Idlib.
“Two Su-24 jets of the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime, which attacked our planes, have been downed,” Turkish defense ministry announced.
The Turkish claim that Syrian Su-24 jets “attacked our planes” is both hypocritical and laughable, since the Russian-built Su-24 is a ground attack jet used in operations against Turkish-backed terrorists, while F-16 is multirole, originally designed for air superiority. It is virtually impossible for Su-24 to attack an F-16.