Turkish warplanes shot down an unidentified drone in Turkish airspace near Syria on Friday, amid confusion about its nationality. A US official said Washington suspected that the drone was Russian but the defence ministry in Moscow said all of its planes in Syria had safely returned to base and that all its drones were operating “as planned”. The Lebanon-based pro-Syrian Al-Mayadeen TV quoted an unnamed Syrian military official as saying that no Syrian or Russian warplane or drone was shot down over Turkey.
The downing of the drone highlights the risks to Turkey, a member of Nato, as Syrian, Russian and US coalition aircraft fly combat missions so close to its borders. The Turkish military said its jets had shot down the aircraft after it continued flying despite three warnings, in line with its rules of engagement. Broadcaster NTV said it had come 3km (1.9 miles) into Turkish air space. “It’s a drone. We are trying to identify its nationality,” said a senior Turkish government official. A US official said that Washington suspected it was a Russian drone, but declined to give any more details. MORE