Turkish warplanes shot down an unidentified drone in Turkish air space near Syria on Friday . The aircraft was warned three times to turn back before being fired on by Turkish jets patrolling the border, the Turkish military said in a statement. It gave no further details.
Russia, which sent military planes into Syria last month, said none of its aircraft in Syria had been hit. But the United States suspected that Turkish fighters targeted a Russian drone, the Reuters news agency reported, citing a U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The Russian defense ministry said all of its planes in Syria had safely returned to base and that all its drones were operating “as planned”.
The downing of the drone highlights the risks to NATO member Turkey as Syrian, Russian and U.S. coalition aircraft fly combat missions so close to its borders.
The Turkish military said its jets had shot down the aircraft after it continued on its trajectory despite three warnings, in line with its rules of engagement. Broadcaster NTV said it had come 3 km (1.9 miles) into Turkish air space.