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Turkey shoots down Syria warplane

Turkish forces have shot down a Syrian fighter jet, saying it encroached into Turkish airspace. Syria disputed the plane's position, saying it was over Syrian territory when it was hit.

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Turkey shoots down Syrian plane

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that a Syrian plane had violated the country's airspace.

"Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard," he told supporters in northwest Turkey during a rally ahead of local elections on March 30.

Syrian rebels have been battling government forces loyal to Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, for the border post of Kasab.

Authorities in Syria accused Turkey of "flagrant aggression" for attacking the fighter jet, with a military source telling the official SANA news agency that the jet was inside Syrian territory as it attacked rebels near the Syria-Turkey border.

According to the Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the plane came down on the Syrian side of the border. State television quoted a military source as saying the pilot managed to eject.

It's not the first time Turkey has shot down a Syrian military aircraft - a

helicopter was shot down

in September 2013.

se/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)

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