According to sources at Reuters News Agency and reports aired by Al-Jazeera; a Turkish F-16 Jet-fighter shot down a Russian SU-24 Tactical Bomber over Syria. The two pilots ejected and are reported to have been killed by Syrian Opposition fighters from the ground. There is footage of gunmen shooting at the parachuting Pilot in the air. Later footage shows his corpse with a bullet hole to the head laying on the ground. Shooting parachuting pilots in the air is a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Turkish authorities claim the Russian pilot ignored repeated warnings of being in Turkish airspace, however, Russian authorities dispute that allegation. Included are the standard protocols that would take place for a shoot-down, if there were signs of hostilities or imminent attack. The Russian pilots are not reported to have displayed any such hostile maneuvers that would precipitate the firing of the F-16 air to air missiles. Additionally, the Turkish pilots would invariably have had to have permission from higher authorities to actually shoot down a Russian jet absent serious provocation. Airspace violation alone is not considered an automatic shoot down without approval from up the chain of command.
Technical data originating from ground radar recordings and intelligence signals monitoring will provide evidence about the flight path for both Aircraft. The two jets were not engaged in aerial combat. The SU 24 are capable of carrying air to air missiles in case of self defense. The Russian pilots have instrumentation in the cockpit, as well as ground communication to inform them if they crossed any borders at that high altitude and sonic speeds. “The ministry stressed that “throughout its flight, the aircraft remained exclusively above Syrian territory”, adding: “Objective monitoring data shows it.”
If the Turkish pilots warned them away from their airspace, then evidence suggest they complied, because they went down over Syrian territory. No shots were reported fired by the Russians at the Turkish aircraft. So if the Russians complied and were over Syrian territory, they were basically shot while complying, and without warning that they would be fired upon. In effect, they were shot in the back, if that scenario played out.
“The Russian Ministry of Defense says that it has proof that the plane was flying in Syrian, not Turkish, airspace at the time of the attack.
We cannot emphasize enough how jaw-droppingly dumb Turkey is: A NATO member just shot down a Russian military jet.”
The BBC Reports:
“This is exactly the kind of incident that many have feared since Russia launched its air operations in Syria. The dangers of operating near to the Turkish border have been all too apparent. Turkish planes have already shot down at least one Syrian air force jet and possibly a helicopter as well.
Russia insists that its warplane did not violate Turkish air space. So, was the Russian pilot’s navigation wrong? Questions will also be asked about the readiness of the Turks to open fire.”
A politically and militarily complex situation just became increasingly dangerous. The Russians who are backing Syrian President Bashir Al-Asad, who is of the Alawites tribe and is their legal head of state, as well as hereditary leader. The Obama Administration who announced a foreign policy red line to topple this secular Shia leader, and supplant him with the dominating opposition groups that are neither Alawite nor Shia, but Sunni, of the extreme Wahabbi – Salafi sect, which have displayed unbridled brutality against Christians and Muslims alike in Syria over the course of this conflict.
The Russians are flying missions in Syria with the objective of destroying ISIS/ISIL strongholds and forces opposed to President Assad. ISIS/ISIL is the culprit that planted a bomb on the Russian passenger plane in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt killing all souls on board. PASSENGER PLANE BOMBER WAS ISIS OPERATIVE
This shoot down by the Turkish government has reverberated throughout the international community and NATO. President Putin called it a “back-stab”. This implication points to two things, one being the protocols of aerial combat, which seem to indicate that the Russian pilot was shot down without demonstrative provocation. He posed no threat to the Turkish pilot. The other is the operational understanding between the Coalition led by the Obama Administration and Moscow. That is grave diplomatic speak to say a trust was not honored.
Besides the shoot down there is the disposition of the two Russian pilots. The opposition ground forces shot down a Russian rescue helicopter searching for them as well. One pilot was recorded on video being murdered. The other is unaccounted for at this writing, but unconfirmed reports allege he was killed parachuting down as well. If not, his fate remains in their hands should he be taken alive.
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Russian Pilot Murdered by Anti Assad armed team
The implications arising from this event will dove tail in two directions simultaneously. Probably, the Russians will be given greater latitude to conduct air operations without NATO/ Turkish interference for fear of an escalation. At the same time, support for Anti-Assad forces will be abandoned, as further support in the face of a clear and open intent by Russian forces to destroy them, would cease to be a war by proxy and instead direct conflict between Russia and NATO. The Russians will demand satisfaction or exact retribution over their pilots, just as a matter of national honor.
“Jahed Ahmad, a representative of the 10th Brigade in the Coast, the rebel group that attacked the pilots, claimed to AP that one of the Russian pilots was dead upon landing.
Both pilots came under fire from members of the group after they attempted to land with their parachutes, Ahmad said. He added that the shots killed one of the pilots, but the fate of the other pilot is still unknown.
From the way the people in the video look and are behaving, we “can assume that they are from the group” that follow the ideology of Islamic State militants or Jabhat al-Nusra, Ali Rizk, journalist and Middle East expert told RT.”
If the present course continues as it has, then there will be direct aerial conflict in Syrian airspace against the Obama led coalition, which will fall apart because international law will fall on the side of Bashir Al-Assad. President Obama signaled this in his coded statement about the shoot down; “Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace,” Obama said at a news conference alongside French President Francois Hollande.
By extension, that right like “every country” refers to President Assad of Syria. Syria is still a sovereign nation that can defend its’ territory and airspace. President Assad invited the Russians and provided them with an airbase to help expel foreign mercenaries and invaders, pirating their oil, murdering their population, and triggering a mass exodus of young men and families, needed to rebuild his nation. It is become evident that the removal of President Assad is a failed policy. Turkey will have to learn to live with him or start a European war NATO is unwilling to fight. Reality must eventually be articulated.
The United Nations have not issued a security council resolution against Syria. The United States Congress have not issued a declaration of war against Syria. Nor, has NATO declared they were attacked by Syria. There is no legal framework to invade Syria and violate a sovereign nation. Nor to bomb its territory, kill its citizenry, pillage their oil refineries, arm and train foreign mercenaries to cross into Syria via Turkey and foment insurrection.
In effect, it is the West that have invaded Syria, and engineered this mass exodus of their younger citizens needed to defend it against an invading hoard like ISIS/ISIL. President Assad remains the legitimate head of state in Syria. He may invoke the aid of the Russians, and demand the Western powers withdraw themselves from his beleaguered nation. This is very serious because it can all spiral out of control at irreversible speed and plunge NATO into a direct war with the Russian Federation. This trip-wire was set taut by the disastrous outcome resulting from NATO’s attack against Libya. This shoot down of a Russian jet operating legally and in their national security interest by a member of NATO may be the next blunder that becomes a prelude to war.
EDITORS NOTE: The views published on the analysis opinion section are that of the author alone and do not reflect the opinion of RV or any third party.