large copyA Syrian fighter plane has been shot down on the border with Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said that the plane was brought down “after it violated Turkish airspace.” Speaking at a rally of his supporters in northwest Turkey, ahead of March 30 local elections, he said: “A Syrian plane violated our airspace. Our F-16s took off and hit this plane.  “Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard.” Following Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet in 2012, Mr Erdogan said the military’s rules of engagement had changed and that any Syrian element approaching the border would be deemed a threat and be treated as a military target. In September Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter. Mr Erdogan continued: “Our response from now will be heavy if you violate our airspace. “I congratulate the chief of general staff, the armed forces and those honourable pilots. I congratulate our air forces,” MORE