Turkey shoots down Syrian warplane, Prime Minister Erdogan says
March 23, 2014 -- Updated 1827 GMT (0227 HKT)
- Turkish armed forces: One plane retreated after four warnings; other did not
- Syrian state media say plane was over Syria, accuse Turkey of "blatant aggression"
- Turkish Prime Minister: "If you violate my airspace ... our slap will be hard"
- Area has seen heavy fighting since an opposition offensive began recently
(CNN) -- Turkey shot down a Syrian fighter jet Sunday after the warplane strayed into its airspace, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"Our F-16s went up in the air and shot that plane down. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, then from now on, our slap will be hard," Erdogan told supporters at a campaign rally.
State-run media in Syria called the shoot-down an act of "blatant aggression" and said the downed plane was over northern Syria at the time.
The pilot ejected and was rescued, SANA reported, citing a military source.
The Turkish armed forces website reported that two Syrian planes were spotted and were warned four times about approaching Turkish airspace as they flew north in Syrian airspace.
One plane left the area but the second plane continued, and entered Turkish airspace by approximately 1 kilometer (six-tenths of a mile). The plane turned west and continued to fly into Turkish airspace, according to the site.
One of the two Turkish F-16s patrolling the area launched a missile at the Syrian plane and it crashed in the area of the town of Keseb, in Syrian territory near the border, Turkish armed forces said.
Syrian government forces have battled rebel fighters in Syria's Latakia province since Friday morning after the opposition launched an offensive in the heavily Alawite populated areas of the country's Mediterranean coast.
The province is still under government control despite some pockets of armed resistance.
Warplanes have been striking at the opposition in Latakia, the home province of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in hopes of preventing a rebel advance.
One of the pitched battles on Friday occurred in Keseb, just 3 kilometers (2 miles) from Turkey. Sunday's SANA report said the Syrian jets were pursuing rebels in the area.
Syria shot down a Turkish plane in 2012, and the two sides have exchanged artillery fire in the past.
In October 2012, Turkey fired on Syrian government targets in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town in which five civilians were killed.
Israel retaliates in Syria after bomb attack
CNN's Slma Shelbayah and Saad Abedine contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
May 31, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.