Fighter jet from Syria crashes in southern Turkey
A fighter jet late Saturday crashed in the southernmost Turkish province of Hatay, Anadoly reported.
Local authorities say it is a fighter jet from Syria, and a Syrian opposition group has separately claimed it shot down a regime aircraft.
Hatay Governor Erdal Ata said he had received reports of a plane crash near the village of Yaylacik in central Antakya, 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Syrian border.
"We think the plane belongs to Syria," Ata said, confirming no Turkish Armed Forces nor civil aviation flight was scheduled in the area.
A search and rescue team combing the area found the wreckage but the jet’s cockpit was empty, Ata said.
“We believe the pilot has ejected safely,” he said, adding that a search is underway.
The governor noted that the situation was not a matter of border violation, and that the jet had not been engaged on the Turkish side.
Eyewitness Suphan Polat, 55, told Anadolu Agency he saw the jet “sink like an arrow into the ground”.
“There were three fires. The trees had been razed. Ammunition from the jet was lying on the ground, while the cockpit was a little off to the side. We were looking for any injured people but were afraid to go near it in case it blew up,” Polat said.
Adem Yuman corroborated Polat’s story, saying it was around 6.30-7 p.m. (1530-1600 GMT) when they heard the explosion.
“We went to the wreckage but we didn’t get too close. There was one explosion when it crashed but no more,” he said.
The Syrian opposition has told Anadolu Agency that they shot down a plane belonging to the regime.
The plane was allegedly bombing Idlib province in northern Syria when it was shot down by the opposition forces, said group spokesman of Ahrar al-Sham, Ahmed Karaali.