Syria air defenses shot down Turkish military plane
Syria apologized for the downing of a Turkish military F-4 over Syrian territorial water Friday, June 22. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denied receiving any apology. Before going into an emergency meeting of government and military heads, he said it was not clear how the plane was lost. Hizbalah’s media reported that the jet was ambushed by Syrian anti-air missiles.
Contact with the Turkish F-4 Phantom was lost shortly after it took off from eastern Erhac Airport and flew over the sea opposite the Turkish-Syrian border not far from the Syrian port of Latakia. The fate of the two pilots is unclear.
debkafile’s military sources report: Syria laid an ambush for the Turkish warplane in revenge for the defection of the Syrian Air Force pilot Col. Hassan Maray al-Hamadeh to Jordan a day earlier with his MiG-21 warplane. Officials in Damascus are certain his defection was organized by US and Turkish intelligence.
DamPress and other Syrian news agencies reported at 16:00 local time Friday that two military aircraft infiltrated Syrian airspace over Latakia and broke the sound barrier while flying low in threatening formation. One was hit by Syrian anti-air fire and the second escaped. DamPress speculates that the intruders were either Turkish or Israeli.
Since Thursday, Syria’s entire air fleet has been grounded while its spy agencies screen flight personnel for more potential defectors.