Russian Su-35S fighters may have intercepted Turkish F-16s and forced the Turkish pilots to leave Syrian airspace. Al-Masdar News reports that the F-16s were 30-40 kilometers into Syrian airspace in the Idlib region, after which they returned to Turkish airspace.
The fact that Turkish fighters entered Syrian airspace and yet returned so quickly could indicate that the F-16 pilots received a warning from the Russian Aerospace Forces, or detected the incoming Russian aircraft on their radars, Al-Masdar believes.
The Russian Su-35S fighters that had taken off at the Khmeimim military base were later spotted near the city of Khan Shaykhun.
Russia and Turkey established a de-escalation zone in Idlib in 2017.
At present, it is believed to be controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Syrian armed opposition, which Moscow and Damascus consider terrorists.
Syria and Turkey have shot down each other’s planes on more than one occasion. The most recent incident was in 2017.
On Monday, Assad’s air force attacked a convoy of Turkish armored vehicles in Syria’s Idlib province. Experts believe that the Turkish armored vehicles and weapons were headed for the Ankara-backed armed groups in Syria.
Assad’s regime, which is supported by Russia, said that by crossing the border, Turkey violated Syria’s national sovereignty.
Previously the Turkish Defense Ministry informed the Russian Defense Ministry that there had been “wicked and ruthless” attacks by the Syrian Arab Army, which is controlled by President Bashar al-Assad. The clash took place in the de-escalation zone, where Ankara estimates that more than 400 civilians have been killed since June.