May 17, 2015
Turkey says it shoots down regime helicopter, Syria TV reports it was drone
A Turkish F-16 that took off from the Incirlik airbase in the southern province of Adana shot down the Syrian aircraft with two Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on May 16, military officials told.
It was not immediately clear what kind of aircraft was shot down.
Turkish locals told daily Hürriyet that a Syrian military plane violated the Turkish border twice in the Dursunlu-Emek area of the southern border province of Hatay. They added that the aircraft fell into the Syrian side of the border in three pieces.
Syrian state media said that what had been shot down was a small, remotely controlled surveillance drone.
In the evening, Turkish Defense Minister said a Syrian helicopter that entered Turkish airspace shortly after 2 p.m. (1100 GMT) and flew seven miles inside, over a period of five minutes, was fired upon and shot down.
Prime Minister later confirmed that the aircraft was a helicopter.
The May 16 incident was not the first time that the two countries’ air forces have engaged militarily.
A Turkish F-4 Phantom warplane crashed into the Mediterranean on June 22, 2012, after being shot down by Syria.
On Sept 16, 2013, the Turkish Air Force shot down a Syrian helicopter at the border after it reportedly violated Turkey's airspace.
Turkish fighter jets also downed a Syrian jet on March 23, 2014, after it crossed into Turkish airspace, a week before local elections.