This past Wednesday, Turkey shot down a Russian jet fighter via anti-aircraft missile near the Turkish-Syrian border. There are two prevailing accounts of the story that led to this politically-significant event.
According to Turkey, Russia’s presence in Syria has had a history of flying over Turkish sovereign territory. The Turks warn them over the airwaves, typically to little to no response, and the Russian jet fighters leave the region. However, this time, the Russian jet fighter did not leave after exactly 10 warnings, at which point the order was given to shoot down the aircraft. Footage has been released of the incident, as well as recording of the radio warnings.
According to Russia, the jet fighter did no such thing and was clearly over Syrian soil, not even close to crossing the border. Russians claims that the attack was also calculated and premeditated in order to make a political statement against Russia. No evidence supporting their claims has been produced as of yet, and there is no reason to believe that there will – Russia has traditional been very protective of mobilization information, often deceitful, especially when one looks at precedents like the Ukrainian conflict.
Details are scattered, but reports also claim that one of the two pilots was killed whilst parachuting from the crash after ejecting from the cockpit. Killing parachutists while they are in mid-descent is punishable by international law and considered a very serious offense. There is no official confirmation of any of these events, and more details will follow.
Now, the Syrian conflict is hotter than ever, and the tension is forcing the hands of states throughout the world. While the United States and Turkey attempt to fund rebels and topple Bashar al-Assad on the grounds of human rights violations, Russia and Iran struggle to prop up the current government. Meanwhile, the third-party ISIS sabotages all plans to keep the conflict civil and less chaotic, only worsening the dire situation. With Putin on a verbal warpath and Erdogan denying all accusations, NATO will be strained.