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Turkey releases audio of moment F16 pilots warned Russian warplane before shooting it down over Syrian border

Turkey says this warning was repeated every 30 seconds for five minutes

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 25 November 2015 11:57 GMT
Turkey releases audio of moment its F16 pilots warned Russian warplane

The Turkish army has reportedly released an audio recording of the moment its fighter pilots warned a Russian military jet before shooting it down over the Syrian border.

In the audio, played in Turkish media reports, a voice speaking in English can be heard issuing a warning to “change your heading south immediately”.

“This is Turkish air force speaking – en garde. You are approaching Turkish airspace,” it warns.

Turkey says this warning was repeated every 30 seconds for five minutes, but was ignored throughout by the Russian Su-24 bomber.

US military officials have supported Turkish claims that warnings were sent, and appeared to verify the recording issued on open channels in English.

But Russia has said that no warnings were received – and disputes Turkey’s claim that its airspace was violated.

Whether they received warning or not, the two Russian pilots were able to parachute clear of the jet safely before it was shot down. Video showed the burning jet crashing to the ground in a wooded area leaving a large plume of smoke.

One of the pilots was shot dead by Syrian rebels as he descended to the ground, and videos and photos posted to social media appeared to show the Russian airman’s body in the hands of the Turkmen Brigade.

The other pilot survived and made his way to Syrian army-held territory, it emerged on Wednesday morning. He has since been returned “safe and sound” to Russia’s airbase in Latakia, Moscow has said.

The fallout of the jet’s downing has seen Russia bolster its air defence systems in north-east Syria, including a cruise ship deployed to the Mediterranean and a new missile defence system to bolster its Khmeimim air base.

“I hope that this, along with other measures that we are taking, will be enough to ensure (the safety) of our flights,” Vladimir Putin told reporters.

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