Should this incident have happened, this opens up an entirely new can of worms for Damascus. In turn, the US could now have stronger relations with Turkey due to a common cause. This could pave the way for a much needed boost in leveraging political pressure against the Moscow-Beijing axis in hope of pushing for the removal of the current Syrian regime, something both countries are strongly against. Having said that, we’re also lucky we didn’t see the entire middle east catch on fire in a regional war over the incident.
The Turkish military reported Friday, June 22, that radar and radio contact was lost with a Turkish air force F-4 plane after it took off from Erhac Airport in the eastern province of Malatya while flying over the sea opposite the Turkish-Syrian border. The incident took place not far from the Syrian port of Latakia.
debkafile’s military sources report that Syrian anti air defenses shot the plane down in an ambush calculated to retaliate for the defection of the Syrian Air Force pilot Col. Hassan Maray al-Hamadeh to Jordan a day earlier with his MiG-21 warplane. Officials in Damascus are certain his defection was organized by US and Turkish intelligence.
DamPress and other Syrian news agencies reported at 16:00 local time Friday that two military aircraft infiltrated Syrian airspace over Latakia and broke the sound barrier while flying low in threatening formation. One was hit by Syrian anti-air fire and the second escaped. DamPress speculates that the intruders were either Turkish or Israeli. The Turkish press reported later that a search operation rescued the two pilots of the downed aircraft from the sea. The plane has not been found. Since Thursday, Syria’s entire air fleet has been grounded while its spy agencies screen flight personnel for more potential defectors.
Full article: Syria air defenses down Turkish military plane over Latakia (DEBKAfile)