DAMASCUS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army confirmed Monday that Turkey shot down its military helicopter which "mistakenly" and "briefly" entered Turkey's airspace.
The statement, carried by Syria's state-run TV, said that "a military helicopter was lost Monday afternoon while conducting one of its reconnaissance sorties to monitor the infiltration attempts of terrorists across the Turkish borders at the Yunusieh area near the countryside of Latakia city."
"After checking, the gunship seemed to mistakenly enter the Turkish airspace for a short distance and then left toward the Syrian territories after receiving orders" from the Syrian side, the statement said.
Shortly afterward, the helicopter was shot down by Turkish air forces after leaving the Turkish airspace, the statement said, stressing that it crashed inside the Syrian territories.
"The hasty reaction from the Turkish side, especially that the gunship was heading back and wasn't tasked with any fighting mission is an evidence of the real intentions of the government of (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan toward Syria," the statement said, adding that Turkey's response aimed to tensing the atmosphere and escalate the situation between both countries.
Earlier in the day, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said his country's warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter at the border region between the two countries after the helicopter allegedly violated Turkish airspace.
"Today an MI-17 helicopter belonging to Syria violated the Turkish border in the Guvecci area of Yayladagi in Hatay province by two km," Arinc told reporters in Ankara.
After repeated warnings, the Turkish military aircrafts shot down the MI-17 helicopter with a missile, he added.
According to a statement released by the Turkish army, the Syrian military helicopter violated Turkish airspace when two Turkish fighter jets were patrolling the area.
After repeated warnings to the helicopter, one of the F-16 jets shot down the helicopter over the Turkish territory but it crushed nearly one kilometer deep into the Syrian side.
Earlier reports said Syrian opposition fighters shot down the helicopter and killed two pilots.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the move a "punishing operation," and stressed that Turkey would not accept any violation of its borders.
"Nobody will dare to violate Turkey's borders again. Turkey will provide the United Nations Security Council and the NATO with details of the circumstances of the incident," he said.
Turkish media reported earlier Monday that Turkey sent three fighter jets over the Syrian border to scout the situation.
In June 2012, the Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish fighter jet that reportedly penetrated the Syrian territorial water.
ANKARA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter on Monday at the border region between the two countries after the helicopter allegedly violated Turkish airspace, said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.
"Today an MI-17 helicopter belonging to Syria violated the Turkish border in the Guvecci area of Yayladagi in Hatay province by two km," Arinc told reporters in Ankara. Full story