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24 November 2015
The US-led coalition registered the Turkish warnings to the Russian bomber which was downed by Turkey’s air forces, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said at the news briefing.
Several hundred people have staged a rally in front of the Turkish embassy in the Russian capital as Muscovites condemned the downing of a Russian jet by the Turkish forces. The demonstrators displayed signs reading “forget about Russian tourists,” “Turkey is an ISIS ally,” “A stab in the back” among others. The crowd called for the Turkish ambassador to come out and explain the incident, but their calls were ignored.
German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel called Turkish actions unpredictable. “This incident shows for the first time that we are to dealing with an actor who is unpredictable according to statements from various parts of the region – that is not Russia, that is Turkey,” Gabriel said, as cited by DPA news agency. He added that Turkey was playing “a complicated role” in the Syrian conflict.
According to preliminary data, one Su-24 pilot was killed in the air by fire from the ground, the Russian General Staff reported. The search and rescue operation is ongoing, according to the military body.
Turkish President Erdogan said that the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber was fully in line with Turkey’s rules of engagement. He also added that no one should doubt that Turkey makes all possible efforts to prevent incidents on the Syrian border.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance backs Ankara, which shot down a Russian military jet. "We stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally," Stoltenberg said at a presser. There has been contact between Moscow and Ankara over the downing of the Russian plane, but there has been no such contact between Moscow and NATO so far, Staltenberg added. He has called on both sides to intensify contacts and develop methods of avoiding similar incidents in the future.
Acts of aggression would only strengthen Syria’s determination to fight terrorist groups with support from Russia, the Syrian General Staff said after the downing of the Russian bomber near the Turkish border. “Reckless acts of aggression will only strengthen our determination to continue the fight against terrorists with the assistance of our friends, especially Russia,” Syrian state agency SANA reported, citing a statement from the General Staff.
The two Russian pilots of the downed Su-24 warplane are still alive and Turkey is working to secure their release from Syrian rebels, a Turkish government official told Reuters. “Our units, who received the information that the two pilots were alive, are working to get them from opposition rebels safely,” he stressed.